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Albuquerque Chamber Soloists end season with Brahms

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The Albuquerque Chamber Soloists will close the season Sunday, April 7, with a Brahms masterpiece penned for a lost lover.

Carmelo de los Santos

The musicians will perform his String Sextet No. 2, along with works by Jean-Baptiste Barriére, Prokofiev and Barber, at St. Paul Lutheran Church.

The concert will open with Barriére’s Sonata for Two Cellos in G Major with cellists James Holland and Lisa Donald.

“Jean-Baptiste Barriére is not that well-known,” Holland said. “He’s from the late Baroque period, a French cellist.

“There’s literally no accompaniment. Being a cellist, he knew how to take advantage of the sonority of the instrument.”

University of New Mexico violin professor Carmelo de los Santos and Megan Holland will follow with Prokofiev’s Sonata for Two Violins.

“It’s very fiery, very virtuosic,” Holland said. “There’s a lot of fireworks in it.”

Former Albuquerque Youth Symphony conductor Gabriel Gordon will return to play Samuel Barber’s haunting setting of Matthew Arnold’s poem “Dover Beach” for baritone and string quartet, with Paul Bower on vocals.

Barber penned the piece when he was 21 and a student at Philadelphia’s Curtis Institute.

“If you listen to it, you’d never know,” Holland said. “There’s all the imagery of the tide going out. The British were always clashing. He performed the piece himself.”

Brahms wrote much of his chamber music early in his career. The String Sextet No. 2 dates from the mid-1860s, when Brahms wasn’t quite 30.

At the same time, the composer had been engaged to the soprano Agathe von Siebold, for whom he had also penned a number of songs. Though their relationship had broken off by the time Brahms completed the Sextet, Agathe’s name is inscribed in the notation of the first movement’s second theme.

“It’s head and heart combined,” Holland said. “There’s a warmth and grace to the entire piece.”

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