Since their founding in 1970, the New York-based Da Capo Chamber Players have excelled at blending the old and the new while making the most of their unusual instrument lineup. This Chicago recital offers an overview of chamber musical styles and genres starting with Haydn, represented here by the first of his London trios, a delectable mix of lilting charm and carefree lyricism. On the other hand, Schubert’s famous pastoral scena, The Shepherd on the Rock, scored for soprano, clarinet, and piano, exudes profound yearning in spite of its naive text. Its world-weariness set the agenda for 19th-century romanticism, just as the morbid nostalgia and nervous agitation in Schoenberg’s Pierrot Lunaire, also on the program, ushered in 20th-century expressionism. Da Capo’s performances of Pierrot Lunaire (two of which have been recorded) are noted for their urgency and clarity. This time the ensemble is joined by soprano Lucy Shelton, a frequent collaborator whose way with Sprechstimme (“spoken singing”) promises a psychologically penetrating interpretation. The most contemporary piece is Bruce Adolphe’s Troika, written for the chamber group TASHI in 1987 (not to be confused with local composer Lawrence Rapchak’s work of the same title). In Russian troika can mean either a trio of horses pulling a carriage or a folk dance three dancers perform while holding hands, and Adolphe plays off both definitions in this work for cello, clarinet, and piano. The Da Capo members are: Patricia Spencer (flute), Laura Flax (clarinet), Andre Emelianoff (cello), Sara Rothenberg (piano), and Eric Wyrick (violin). Sunday, 3 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 702-8068.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): Photo/Stewart O’Shields.