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Serenata of Santa Fe offers a musical voyage to Paris

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Serenata of Santa Fe will take listeners to the City of Light through the music of Messiaen, du Bois and Fauré next Sunday.

“Paris” features three works capturing that shimmering and sparkling brilliance through David Felberg and Ruxandra Marquardt on violin, Shanti Randall on viola, Dana Winograd on cello and Yi-heng Yang on piano.

Olivier Messiaen composed his suite for solo piano, “Twenty Contemplations on the Infant Jesus,” after his 1941 release from the Görlitz concentration camp.

“It’s basically a meditation on the infancy of Jesus,” Serenata artistic director Pamela Epple said.

Pianist Yi-heng Yang will play three of the suites

“It’s a monumental piece,” Epple said. “I think it will give you kind of an understanding of the work. It’s really about religious faith and the wonder of nature. He also developed a very keen appreciation and fascination with bird song. It has this shimmering, beautiful quality that reminds us of other French composers, such as Debussy.”

Modern composer Alexandra du Bois’ String Quartet No. 1 was commissioned by the famous Kronos Quartet in 2003.

“I first heard this piece after the Paris attacks,” Epple said. “It just struck me so profoundly. A lot of her music reflects what is going on in the world. Her music often describes landscapes of war and how we got there.”

The program will close with Fauré’s Piano Quintet No. 2 in C minor, op. 115, from 1921, written near the end of the composer’s life.

“His modulations really play with the feeling of the work,” Epple said. “Again, it also has that shining quality.”

By the time of its premiere, Fauré was deaf.

“How could somebody compose so much beauty and not hear it?” Epple asked. “It’s very tender and very moving.”