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Psychopomp Evokes Germanians’ Lighter Side – Lyric Say

The quaintly printed single-page program mentioned all of it: “Chamber Music Charlestown, along with St. John’s Church and the Friends of the Charlestown Library present Germania Musical Society Dance Music: Waltzes, Quicksteps, Polkas, Marches, and Galops…”, with a interval lithograph from the 1870s displaying 21 mustachioed gamers from the Society’s orchestra. This jolly afternoon live performance, relocated from the Harvard Musical Affiliation after an avoidable battle, drew an viewers of about 90 HMA loyalists and buddies as vivid daylight poured by the stained-glass home windows of the small and acoustically gratifying church just some hundred yards from the Bunker Hill Monument.

The duo-pianists Xiaopei Xu and Chi-Wei Lo, who name themselves Psychopomp, assembled an agreeable program—rigorously winnowed, rearranged, and improved—from the  19th-century favorites and forgettables within the HMA Library. Carl Zerrahn (1826-1909), German-American flutist and conductor who taught at NEC and performed all around the Boston space, was centrally featured as a composer, with a Overlook-Me-Not Grand Waltz and Hungarian Masks Galop, each in A-flat main with nocturne-like cantilena and echoes of Chopin. Joseph Gung’l (1809-1889) and Carl Bergmann (1814-1865) had been equally represented with polkas and waltzes of lighthearted parlor taste, a lot of it with dominant-tonic alternation and treble trills and tremoli to the tip of time, and lots of who heard this music keep in mind how a lot enjoyable it was to play at house even a long time in the past. Bergmann’s Night Polka earned plaudits for Psychopomps sparklingly improvisatory variations within the kinds of composers starting from Bach to Schoenberg.

Some weightier music crammed out this system, too: Mendelssohn’s Overture to A Midsummer Evening’s Dream, heard on this four-hand transcription, sounded virtually like a brand new piece, reminding us that when its orchestral unique was composed by a 17-year-old genius, Beethoven was nonetheless alive. I had not heard the Overture to Ludwig Spohr’s Jessonda since 1962, however it sounded freshly revived, with Wagner lurking across the subsequent nook. This system ended with Johann Strauss Jr.’s immortal Radetzky March, and several other within the viewers had been seen to be clapping in rhythm.

By means of their Psychopomp Ensemble (that means religious information), worldwide performers, Medical doctors of Musical Arts recipients, and conservatory lecturers Chi-Wei Lo and Xiaopei Xu downplay any sense of both pomp or psychosis;  they’ve a really superior unity as a duet crew, and particularly to their credit score, they don’t bang out the fortissimo fashion. Their execution was as delicate because it was wise. Lo has an electrical aura and Xu produced an beautiful singing tone on the 1870 Chickering Live performance Grand. A YouTube video needs to be up by the tip of the week. I’d like to listen to extra of them in a number of the lesser-known four-hand repertory, such because the inches-thick quantity of Schubert duets, and the final two Mozart sonatas.

Our characteristic HERE provides an attention-grabbing account of the Germania Musical Society.

Mark DeVoto, musicologist and composer, is an knowledgeable on the music of Alban Berg, Debussy, and different early Twentieth-century composers. A graduate of Harvard School (1961) and Princeton (Ph.D., 1967), he has revealed on many music topics, and edited the revised fourth (1978) and fifth (1987) editions of Concord by his instructor Walter Piston.

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