2017 – 2018 Season

Beauty, Passion, Variety!

Tuesday, March 13, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Mixed Metaphors.

Barrett Sills, cello, lead musician; with Sean Krissman, clarinet, Rodney Waters, piano and Julia Fox, soprano. The Brahms “Trio,” op. 114, for clarinet, cello, and piano; Schubert’s “Shepherd on the Rock,” and works by Andre Previn for cello, soprano, and piano. A ravishing mixture of sound and passion!

Saturday, April 14, 2018 at 2:30.
Rising Stars

Houston Youth Symphony chamber players, coached by master musicians.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Two times Five = Fabulous!

Sophia Silivos, violin, lead musician; David Salness, violin; James Dunham, viola; Ivo-Jan van der Werff, viola; Barrett Sills, cello. Mozart Viola Quintet No. 3 in C Major, K 515 and Dvorak Viola Quintet No. 3 in E-flat Major, Opus 97 Gorgeous multiplication!

2017-2018 Past Concerts

Tuesday, October 10, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Sextets in the City.

James Dunham, viola, lead musician. Sophia Silivos and Anton Miller, violins; James Dunham and Rita Porfiris, violas; Barrett Sills and Louis-Marie Fardet, celli. BOTH of Brahms’s sextets: “Sextet in B-flat,” op. 18; and “Sextet in G,” op. 36. An evening to stir your emotions!

Welcome to the opening concert of another stellar season with the St. Cecilia Chamber Music Society! Unique in Houston, we bring together wonderful musicians who are true friends and couple this with standard and unusual works for your delight!

I confess that pairing both Brahms String Sextets in a single concert is not a new idea: it’s just that they complement each other perfectly and are absolutely great! The Sextet in Bb Major, op. 18, is by the still young Brahms, with tremendous flair and youthful vigor. The melodies flow readily, filled with grand passion and power. The second sextet in G Major, op. 36, is more mature, filled with reflection and wonder. The melodies are still elegant and broad, yet the scope of the work reaches a higher and more complex plane. The complete work is a most compelling and glorious journey, and the combination of these two sextets on a single program will leave you simultaneously breathless… and wishing for more!

We are eager to greet you for the 2017/2018 Season!

– James Dunham

Tuesday, November 14, 2017 at 7:30 p.m.
Musical Bonbons.

  • Concertino for Flute, Viola, and Piano – Ernest Bloch (1880 – 1959) – Allegro comodo – Andante – Allegro
  • Duo for Flute and Viola, op. 5 Nr. 2 – François Devienne (1759 – 1803) – Allegro moderato – Presto
  • Sonata for Flute and Piano – Francis Poulenc (1899-1963) – Allegro malinconico – Cantilena – Presto giocoso
  • Duo for Flute and Viola in F major – Franz Anton Hoffmeister (1754 – 1812) – Allegro – Romance – Allegretto
  • Prélude, récitatif et variations op. 3 for Flute, Viola, and Piano – Maurice Duruflé (1902 – 1986)

Judy Dines, flute, lead musician; Joan DerHovsepian, viola; and Kyung-a Yoo, piano.

I would like to introduce you to the Musical Bonbons that will appear on this concert. All of these pieces will charm you with their magic and whimsy!

This program starts with a Concertino, which is a small concerto, written for Flute and Viola by Ernest Bloch. It was commissioned by the Juilliard School; they wanted him to write something “light-hearted” for the students there. The first part has a modal, or slightly “country” feel to it, with the flute and viola passing themes back and forth. This moves into a slower middle section, which starts with a low piano tune in a passacaglia. The last section starts with a fugue, and ends in a frenzy!

There are two flute and viola duos on the program. It is not a combination that is typically written for, but works well because of the mix of treble and alto. The first of these duos is by François Devienne, a French composer and flutist from the late 1700’s. He uses the flute and viola as equal voices, which was not usual for the time.

The lone Flute sonata is a very popular one by Francis Poulenc. He wrote it for the famous flutist Jean-Pierre Rampal; Rampal and Poulenc premiered it in 1957. It is one of the most popular works in the flute repertoire.

FA Hoffmeister was a well-respected composer in his day. Many of his works are for the flute, though he has also written, among other things, a popular viola concerto. This piece highlights his fine writing for both instruments.

Duruflé was a celebrated organist and composer in the 20th century. Surprisingly, he published very few works of his works (just 14 opus numbers), as he was a perfectionist, and highly critical of his works. Prélude, récitatif et variations was written in 1928 for the famed publisher Francis Durand, who had died earlier in the year.

Please enjoy these bonbons! – Judy Dines

Tuesday, January 30, 2018 at 7:30 p.m.
Love Triangle.

Rodney Waters, piano, lead musician; with Sophia Silivos, violin; Joan DerHovsepian, viola; and Barrett Sills, cello. Works by Robert Schumann, Clara Schumann, and Johannes Brahms, including Robert Schumann’s “Piano Quartet in E-flat,” op. 47. No better love entanglements than these!

Three Romances for Violin and Piano, Op. 22
Sonata for Viola and Piano in F Minor, Op. 120
Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, Op. 47

In the mid 19th Century, Robert and Clara Schumann were the ultimate musical power couple.  He was a respected composer and music critic, and she was one of the busiest touring pianists in Europe.  In 1853 when Brahms was only 20 years old, Schumann published his praise for the young composer in the New Journal for Music saying, “He has arrived, a young blood, at whose cradle graces and heroes kept watch.  His name is Johannes Brahms.”   The Schumann family took in the young composer and helped establish his reputation.  After Robert’s suicide attempt in 1854, subsequent hospitalization in a psychiatric asylum and death in 1856, Brahms became Clara’s primary confidant and support and remained so for another 40 years until her death in 1896.  Brahms died less than a year later in 1897. Today, Robert Schumann and Johannes Brahms are two of the most beloved and frequently performed composers in concert halls across the world.  It is clear that we owe much of this music to Clara’s emotional and artistic influence.  She promoted and performed their music, critiqued their work, and inspired their creativity.  A brilliant composer in her own right, this concert will feature her Three Romances for Violin and Piano, the Sonata for Viola and Piano in F Minor by Johannes Brahms, and the Piano Quartet in E-flat Major, by Robert Schumann.

– Randy Waters