When: Thu., June 10, 4 p.m. 2010
“Silent Devotion” from Ernest Bloch’s Sacred Service (composed between 1930 and 1933 in Switzerland), arranged for violin, cello, clarinet and piano, opens the program, followed by Olivier Messiaen’s "Quartet for the End of Time," which was written and premiered in a German concentration camp in 1941. Performers are Nicole Benton, violin; Bryon Hogan, cello; Gretchen Schneider Roper, clarinet, and Ghadi Shayban, piano. There is a free lecture before the concert in the Abbey library at 2 p.m.
Soothe your soul
The Mepkin Abbey Concerts are among the most keenly anticipated and memorable events offered by Piccolo Spoleto. And no wonder: The idyllic Mepkin Abbey grounds are a tranquil paradise. Musicians and listeners alike can't get enough of the Abbey church's warm and revealing acoustics; you simply won't believe how good music sounds there until you've heard it for yourself. Plus, there's the elegant (and yummy) wine and hors d'oeuvres reception under the oaks following the concerts.
Twice as nice
The first concert this year — on May 31 — will showcase some of Charleston's finest resident instrumentalists, performing as the Ensemble of St. Clare under the deft baton of Alex Agrest. Their program will be a varied and generous mix of small orchestral classics and chamber music, featuring Vaughan Williams' beloved Fantasia on Greensleeves and The Lark Ascending, a pair of prime concertos by Bach and Handel, plus Mozart's sublime Clarinet Quintet, among others. Featured soloists are the Charleston Symphony's crack concertmaster Yuriy Bekker and principal oboe Mark Gainer. You'll also hear Gretchen Schneider Roper's dulcet clarinet.
A choice chamber program follows on June 10, entitled Cause and Effect: Music in Response to the Holocaust. You'll hear a fetching arrangement of Ernest Bloch's Silent Devotion, from his Sacred Service. Then we'll get Olivier Messiaen's deep and daring Quartet for the End of Time, written and first performed in a concentration camp. The distinguished performers will be violinist Nicole Benton, cellist Bryon Hogan, and pianist Ghadi Shayban, plus clarinetist Roper from the previous event.