When the Union City Chamber Players return to St. John’s Episcopal Church for the first concert of its second season on Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. to see soprano Bernadette LaFond, this will be a trip into the past. For among the pieces that the players will perform is Frauenliebe und –leben (“A Woman’s Life and Loves”), a cycle of songs that dates from the year of Schumann’s wedding, 1840, which his biographers have dubbed “the year of songs.”
The depth and complexity of the feelings described may reflect the composer’s long, difficult courtship of Clara Wieck, his pupil and soul mate. A woman traces the joys and sorrows of her youth, first love, motherhood, and later loss, in music both direct and deeply affecting. LaFond will perform the piece with pianist Marina Korsakova-Kreyn.
Although Schuman has done other song cycles, this one is tender and provocative and for LaFond, comes from a time in her own past when she first performed it at a student.
“I performed this when I was an undergraduate at recital,” she said.
This was part of an extensive study of the work.
But she said when younger, her performance differs from the one she will be giving today, partly because when she was younger, she did not have the life experiences that she has now.
“I studied this and now I’ve lived through some of these experiences, and now I’m coming back to it.” – Bernadette LaFond
Also, the chamber performance will differ from a full blown opera, and so that while she expects the performance to resonate, there is also something more intimate in the performance.
She is also singing the song cycle in a lower key than when she sang it back then, and this somehow lends itself to the intimate nature of the cycle.
“I studied this and now I’ve lived through some of these experiences, and now I’m coming back to it,” she said. “Back then, I didn’t understand the depth of it, and now with life experience, I am able to convey that cycle of life, digging deeper.”
This night of performance will also include Schubert’s “Trout” Quintet with guest artists Blanca Ugelli, piano; Robert Lawrence, violin; E. Zoe Hassman, cello, and Jules Hirsh, double bass. They will join violist Peter Borten for this popular early Romantic masterwork.
Peter Borten, LaFond’s husband, said the Union City performance follows a successful performance in New York City earlier this year, and will involve many of the performers from the New York City area. This means a larger number of performers than in the past
“Our pianist will be coming from Queens,” he said. “This is a big show for the piano.”
Schubert’s Quintet was written when he was only 22 and the product of an unusually happy three-month escape in the summer and autumn of 1819 to the Austrian countryside.
“He probably did everything a young man does, going to the tavern, seducing young women in a three month rollick,” Borten said. “This reflects that happy time.”
The music is jovial and expansive, and reflects that young composures sense of freedom from the drudgery of teaching.
The Union City Chamber Players unite locally based professional musicians and guest performers to bring low-cost, high-quality performances of classical chamber music to the Union City community and beyond. UCCP is currently in residence at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Union City and is grateful for the sponsorship of Arts at St. John’s. Together with the Union City Opera, Union City Philharmonic, and in collaboration with the Union City Music Project, with outreach to the children of our community, UCCP is proud to be part of the new classical music scene in Hudson County.
Borten LaFond, Korsakova-Kreyn started working together in 2011 when Korsakova-Kreyn, who lives in Weehawken, began teaching piano to Borden and LaFond’s children. The group’s fourth member, pianist Leslie Frost, joined after.
But this upcoming performance will be larger than previous performances as performers from NYC come to Union City, Borten said.
Borten and LaFond, who have lived in Union City since 1992, usually performed outside Hudson County, but are seeking to develop an audience here.
Although this performance will have more members than the usual quartet, the pieces performed are more intimate because they do not have to deal with other aspects of performing opera such as blocking and such.
LaFond said this allows her and the performers to focus on the performance of music instead.
Borten said there is a need to retain The Arts at St. John’s as a venue for performance, and hopes that by providing high quality shows like these, they can build an audience throughout the county.
Tickets can be purchased for $10 on the day of the concert at the door. Children may attend at no charge. Audience members are welcome to join the artists for a free reception following the concert.
Mezzo-soprano Bernadette LaFond and pianist Marina Korsakova-Kreyn will also perform Schumann’s haunting song cycle Frauenliebe und – Leben. The program will also be presented on Nov. 5 at 7:30 P.M. at Crane’s Mill, 459 Passaic Ave, West Caldwell, N.J.
The Union City Chamber Players unite locally based professional musicians and guest performers to bring low-cost, high-quality performances of classical chamber music to the Union City community and beyond.
UCCP is currently in residence at St. John’s Episcopal Church in Union City and said they are grateful for the sponsorship of Arts at St. John’s. Together with the Union City Opera, Union City Philharmonic, and in collaboration with the Union City Music Project, with outreach to the children of our community, UCCP is proud to be part of the new classical music scene in Hudson County.
You can visit the UCCP’s Facebook group at http://www.facebook.com/UnionCityChamberPlayers and The Arts at St. John’s at http://arts-at-st-johns.blogspot.com.
Al Sullivan may be reached at email@example.com.