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Taos Chamber focuses on ‘Youthful Exuberance’

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Mozart penned his Sonata in A Major when he was 8 years old.

In keeping with that “Youthful Exuberance,” the Taos Chamber Music Group will perform music written by composers under the age of 30 on Saturday, March 14 and Sunday, March 15 at the Harwood Museum of Art.

“It started with Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Quintet (in D Major),” TCMG flutist/director Nancy Laupheimer said. “He composed it when he was 26. It sat on the shelf for about 100 years before it got played again.”

Mariane Shifrin, clarinet.

Written in 1898, the piece is uplifting and optimistic, she added. It takes a bright-eyed look at Romanticism’s often darker side.

“I think it will be a real balm for people in these turbulent times,” she said.

Principal New Mexico Philharmonic clarinetist Marianne Shifrin will join horn player Jeffrey Rogers and pianist Debra Ayers for a 1947 piece by the American composer George Rochberg, who later became known as a devoted atonalist. Written when he was 29, his “Trio in B-flat Major” for clarinet, horn and piano shows more of the influences of his teacher, the composer Gian Carlo Menotti, as well as Bartok and Stravinsky, than the father of serial music, Arnold Schoenberg. Mellifluous and contrapuntal, the piece was revised in 1980 when Rochberg’s compositions returned to tonality.

The program will open with by far the most youthful piece, Mozart’s sonata for flute, violin and keyboard. Laupheimer will be featured with Ayers on piano and Sally Guenther boosting the bass line on cello.

Laupheimer and Ayers will also join forces for a romp called “Moment of Clarity” by New York composer Judd Greenstein. Written in 2007, when Greenstein was 27, the piece is meant as the first movement of a longer work. Greenstein began his composition career by making hip-hop beats in his childhood home.

“It’s very hard to put this in the classical slot because there are so many influences,” Laupheimer said.

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