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A night to celebrate the French

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Two works, two French composers, same year.

The works are César Franck’s Sonata in A major for Violin and Piano and Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quartet No. 2 in G minor.

Both were composed in 1886.

If you go
what: An Evening of Chamber Music with Ida Kavafian and Friends
WHEN: 7 p.m. Friday, Aug. 10
WHERE: Robertson & Sons Violin Shop, 3201 Carlisle NE
HOW MUCH: $75 in advance at www.musicfromangelfire.org or by calling 575-377-3233 or toll-free 888-377-3300 or if seats are available at the door. The event is a fundraiser for Music from Angel Fire and it includes a post-concert courtyard reception with the artists

“But they’re completely different in style, sound and character,” violinist Ida Kavafian said in a phone interview.

Kavafian is performing in both pieces in a Friday, Aug. 10, chamber music program at Robertson and Sons Violin Shop in Albuquerque. The concert is a benefit for Music from Angel Fire, of which Kavafian is the artistic director.

Of the two compositions, she said that the Franck is much more popular.

“I think the harmonies are extremely appealing and beautiful and romantic, and it also has a dreamy atmosphere in the first movement and breaks into exciting virtuosity in the second,” Kavafian said.

“It’s appealing to people who have heard it and who have never heard it.”

And from the musicians’ perspective, she and pianist Anne-Marie McDermott have played it before and enjoy playing it again.

“This is his second piano quartet and it is maybe thornier in harmony and character (than his first) but it is really a great work,” Kavafian said.

It begins with what she described as a rumbling that seems to represent the Machine Age coming. The piano has a kind of assembly-line sound with many notes, and the strings have the melody over the top of that, Kavafian said.

The ensemble OPUS ONE plays the Fauré. Ensemble members are Kavafian, McDermott, violist Steve Tenenbom and cellist Peter Wiley.

Kavafian thinks Fauré was a member of an organization of Frenchmen who reacted against the dominance of German music after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. Fauré’s reaction was to compose music in a French romantic style that was “more overt, more heart on the sleeve” than the German style, she said.

The performance is a preseason benefit concert for Music from Angel Fire, whose main theme this season is “La Musique de la France.” The music festival runs from Aug. 17 through Sept. 2.

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