Earlier this month the Chamber Players of the Peninsula Symphony Orchestra delighted local music lovers with another free concert at Santa Clara’s Triton Museum of Art. It’s the second in what the Symphony’s Music Director and Conductor Mitchell Sardou Klein anticipates making a regular series, bringing a “wide range of music to the community,” he said.
Saturday evening the Chamber Players performed notable chamber works: Mozart’s Clarinet Concerto in A major, and Schumann’s Octet in F Major, two appealing works that set the Cowell Gallery ringing.
The Clarinet Concerto is one of 33 pieces that Mozart composed in the last year of his life, 1791. It was the great composer’s last orchestral work as well as the first clarinet concerto from a major composer. It’s also one of the most important works in the clarinet repertory.
Although ordinarily performed with a full orchestra, Saturday’s performance was performed with only one instrument on a part and no conductor, giving the work a very different feel and sound, said clarinet soloist Michael Cher.
“The ensemble could follow and interact with me,” he said, in contrast with a full orchestral performance where the soloist and the orchestra interact with the conductor.
Although not listed on the program, the Cowell Room’s acoustics came in for praise Saturday.
“The room is very lively and brilliant,” said Klein. “It really rings. It’s interesting to see how much the presence of people in the room round out the sound here, instead of deadening it. Listeners feel they’re ‘inside’ the music.”
The Triton’s intimacy also brings a special quality to performances. “Making music ideally involves musicians communicating with an audience,” said Klein. “Otherwise it’s just practicing.”
The Triton has become a popular space for chamber music over the last few years, and even hosts its own ensemble-in-residence, the Cal Arte Ensemble, which presents the Sunday Gallery series at the Triton.
In 2017 Cal Arte performed the Schubert Octet at the Triton, so local music lovers have had two opportunities in the last three years to hear a monumental work often described as “rarely performed,” right here at home.
“The concerts have increased Triton membership as well as our visibility in the community,” said Triton Executive Director Jill Meyers. “They’re key to the Triton’s vital role as a community resource and a natural gathering place.
The Peninsula Symphony’s next program, Eternal Love Songs, on May 17 at the San Mateo Performing Arts Center and May 18 at Campbell’s heritage Theater features San Francisco Opera star Renée Rapier and Tchaikovsky’s Romeo and Juliet Fantasy-Overture. Visit peninsulasymphony.org for information, tickets and performance previews.