NICHOLE JIANG – STAFF WRITER
As the 2021 season winds down, there’s still a chance to enjoy classical music as the Manhattan Chamber Players perform at 8:15 p.m. Tuesday, Aug. 24 in the Amphitheater.
The chamber music performance will not only allow Chautauquans to enjoy classical music one more time this summer, but it will also share the talents of each individual musician in a more intimate setting.
The group was founded in 2015 by violist Luke Fleming. Fleming had been playing in a string quartet for six years, and found himself wanting an opportunity to branch out in chamber music and play with people that had a similar musical background as he did. From this came the creation of the Manhattan Chamber Players, a group of musicians who were able to come together and explore a vast chamber music repertoire.
Members of the Manhattan Chamber Players also come from successful careers as either soloists or members of other professional performing groups. There are also two composers who write music for the group. Each musician shares the common goal of coming together to create music and perform chamber music.
The group has traveled to numerous places around the world to share the experience of chamber music. They perform their own series of chamber concerts in New York City but have also performed in New Orleans, Utah, and numerous music festivals and chamber music series.
Each performance that the group puts on is unique and electric in its own way. This is due to the flexibility of their programming, with repertoire being performed from strings to winds and piano.
Aside from performing around the world, the group also co-presents the Crescent City Chamber Music Festival, an outreach and mission-based event, each year in October. The festival was founded by Fleming, as well, with the goal of bringing chamber music to New Orleans. Since its founding in 2016, the festival has presented more than 20 free concerts in local venues, nursing homes, schools and homeless shelters.
The Manhattan Chamber Players are also dedicated to educating young people about the importance and joys of playing an instrument — whether as a career or simply a hobby. The group showcases this by performing in local schools and after-school programs.
Tonight’s program includes Beethoven’s String Trio in G Major, Op. 9, No. 1 and Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 2 in G Minor, Op. 45.
The Beethoven piece is a part of three four-movement string trios that he once considered his best compositions. These works were the stepping stones to Beethoven’s string quartets that would later become the leading genre in chamber music.
Tonight’s trio in G Major is considered the most vigorous of the three. The high-energy piece starts off with a slow introduction that gives way to advanced harmonies, dazzling melodies and changing tones and moods with an unexpected D Minor key. The rich piece then ends on a fast-paced Presto movement.
The Fauré piece is a traditional piano quartet with inclusion of piano, violin, viola and cello. This four-movement piece begins with a unison string melody that is followed by the piano introducing the theme.
The last movement that ends both the piece, and tonight’s concert, will leave a lasting impression with its passionate and intense string melody and piano triplets.