Some pieces of music are beloved for a reason theyre just plain delightful to the ear, especially in the accomplished hands of an artist such as Aviram Reichert. An audience favorite at Music in the Mountains, he is performing several times in this, the 26th season, beginning with the Alpenglow fundraiser at the Glacier Club on July 9.
Reichert, you may recall, was the bronze medalist at the 1997 Van Cliburn International Competition, and the pianist who performed the hat trick of playing three Mozart concerti for Music in the Mountains first official recording.
Reichert began a magical evening of music with Beethovens Moonlight Sonata, a piece that has been popular since its début in 1801. (Its official name is Sonata No. 14 in C-sharp minor, Op. 27 No. 2.)
Five years after Beethovens death, poet and music critic Ludwig Rellstab likened the first movement of the sonata to moonlight on Lake Lucerne, an allusion that has endured to this day. (But not without some controversy. Critics have found the title unfitting for a piece they describe as more akin to a funeral march. Perhaps The Gramophone classical music magazine co-founder Sir Compton Mackenzie said it best when he said he found the title harmless. What these austere critics fail to grasp is that unless the general public had responded to the suggestion of moonlight in this music, Rellstabs remark would long ago have been forgotten. Mackenzie was quite a character, having been a spy in Greece during World War I and serving as president of both the Croquet Association and the Siamese Cat Club at various times.) And here endeth the music lesson.
The piece was particularly magical with the moon shining over the San Juan Mountains that evening maybe not Lake Lucerne, but anyone who says that isnt a gorgeous view is blind or a Philistine.
Perhaps as a bit of a poke at those music critics who call the Moonlight Sonata more of a funeral march, Reichert decided to play a real funeral march for his second piece. Frédéric Chopins Sonata No. 2, Op. 35, Marche Funebre.
My mother, Kathy Butler, was a tremendous fan of classical music, and I did a lot of homework to a soundtrack of Beethoven and Chopin. Theres nothing like a live performance to remind us just how grand the music is.
A great deal of the fun was listening to Reichert talk about the pieces he had chosen. That kind of passion is infectious.
Bruce Weiss, the director of real estate at the Glacier Club, welcomed the 90 guests to the event. (They had originally set the limit at 80 people, but they allowed another 10 before calling it a sold-out smash.)
Bridget Risenhoover once again coordinated an event with some delicious food. The fresh peach slices wrapped in prosciutto, grilled and drizzled with balsamic vinegar were one of the most delicious bites Ive enjoyed all year. Also on the menu were coconut shrimp with orange dipping sauce; Parmesan crisps with smoked trout and lemon-thyme cream; Thai-chicken endive cups; three different kinds of raw oysters on the half shell with grappa mignonette; sweet potato chips with house-cured pork belly and sweet onion ragoût; and candied lemon slices with smoked scallop mousse and chive pesto.
The Glacier Club has committed to holding several events each year for Music in the Mountains, and its definitely one of my favorite venues in the area. It was a splendid start to the season.
Reichert also will be playing Prokofievs Piano Concerto No. 4 in C, Op. 26 at 5 p.m. Saturday and a chamber concert at 7 p.m. Tuesday, both at the Festival Tent at Durango Mountain Resort, so there are more chances to catch this festival veteran.
For those interested in seeing Reichert in his teaching mode, there has been a change in schedule for his master class. It will be held at 2:30 p.m. Friday in Roshong Recital Hall inside Jones Hall at Fort Lewis College. Admission is free to the class.
One other quick note: Pops Night at 5:30 p.m. today at DMR features the music of Frank Sinatra with Steve Lippia. Because of a miscount, four seats opened Tuesday. If youre a fan of Ol Blue Eyes, this is a do-not-miss event. Call the festival office at 385-6820 to snag a pair.
Breaking out their umbrellas for their birthdays (Hurray!) are Jenna Baker, BillBorgers, P.J. Golbricht, Brian Shafer, James Somsen, Donna Stone, JesseDeNier, Tracey Palmer, Bob Vialpondo, Margaret Hjermstad, Charlie Arbaugh, Charles Williams, Cissy Anderson, Ken Fusco, Lora Woods and HollyNewby.
While Im on the topic of Music in the Mountains, I should mention its Wine Raffle. Stan and Alice Crapo, who keep many nonprofit events well-lubricated with products from their business Star Liquors year-round, have once again stepped to the plate, donating a $2,400 gift certificate for the raffle winner.
Music in the Mountains Board President Terry Bacon said he calculated that to come out to 40 cases of Wild Turkey, but what it really comes out to is some great parties for your friends, an excellent start to assembling a wine cellar, some extremely fine hostess gifts or maybe just the best-stocked liquor cabinet in town. And a tremendous support for the classic musical festival.
Tickets are $20 each and six for $100. (Go in on some tickets with a group of friends to increase your chances and share the booty.)
Heres where and when you can get em: From 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. during the week at the Music in the Mountains office, 1063 Main Ave.; half an hour before concerts and during intermission at the festival tent at DMR and at the Community Concert Hall at Fort Lewis College; from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays at Star Liquors; from 4 to 6 p.m. Fridays and Saturday afternoons at Kroegers Ace Hardware; and from 4 to 6 p.m. Mondays at north City Market.
Now come on, theyre making it easy for you to fit it in your schedule, so no excuses! And dont wait until the last minute theyre only selling 1,500 tickets, which makes the odds way better and the drawing is at 5 p.m. Aug. 3 during a wine tasting where else but at Star Liquors.
Maybe they should call it a Potent Potable (just like the Jeopardy category) Raffle. Im just saying.
Saturday has several cool events on offer. The Victorian Aid Society is holding its second Old-Fashioned Picnic complete with croquet. (Hmm, the second mention of croquet in one column it must be the season.)
The picnic will run from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Rotary Park. Bring your own lunch and some moolah so you can buy a homemade pie and ice cream for dessert at the bake sale.
Last year, Darla Hill scandalously wore an 1890s swimdress to cool off in the Animas River. Will she do it again this year? Youll have to go to find out.
Also on Saturday, Durango Friends of the Arts is holding its first Artists Market, and it sounds like its has a winner right out of the gate. It will be held from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Edgemont Picnic Grounds. The picnic grounds are only six miles outside of town, but theyre a world away in terms of beauty, making it a great place to spend a summer Saturday.
Theyre easy to find. Just head out Florida Road, which becomes County Road 240. The picnic grounds are on the right shortly after you pass all the entrances to Edgemont Ranch and Edgemont Highlands.
More than 40 artists will be displaying the results of their creative labors, including Mary Ellen Long and Diane Welle with her spectacular hats. There will be live music, food and drinks for sale and a kids area for artful play, including painting.
Admission is free. Oh, and no dogs are allowed.
Nothing says happy anniversary like dancing in the rain for Terry and Toni Senters and John and Cherie Hughes.
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