Having completed their tour of nine cities in eight states at the beginning of this year, the New Century Chamber Orchestra (NCCO) and Music Director Nadja Salerno-Sonnenberg are now preparing to begin next month with the next concert in their 2012–2013 season subscription series. Having performed as soloist during Salerno-Sonnenberg’s inaugural 2009–2010 season, pianist Anne-Marie McDermott will return as guest soloist next month. McDermott has held a long-standing collaborative partnership with Salerno-Sonnenberg; and in 2005 they recorded a CD of duos by Ludwig van Beethoven, Franz Schubert, and Francis Poulenc on Salerno-Sonnenberg’s NSS label.
For next month’s NCCO concert, McDermott will perform Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 414 concerto in A major. I have often written about the “show-off kid” side of Mozart’s personality, which tends to be most evident in what he wrote for his own performance in his piano concertos. However, K. 414 was composed in 1782 by a Mozart who was beginning to come to grips with maturity. As a result, this is a concerto in which the music is not always about the soloist. Indeed, as I observed when the work was performed by the New Esterházy Quartet, Mozart had suggested to his publisher that a string quartet would probably serve for accompaniment as well as a full orchestra; and the concerto has the sort of “conversational” style that is associated more often with chamber music, rather than symphonic music.
For the second half of the program, McDermott and Salerno-Sonnenberg will share the solo spotlight in a performance of Ernest Chausson’s “concert” for piano, violin, and string quartet (Opus 21). This is a major large-scale undertaking, recognized by many as a monument of late nineteenth-century chamber music composition. The scale of this piece will be complemented by a much shorter piece by Osvaldo Golijov at the beginning of the program. The evening will begin with Golijov’s “Last Round,” a memorial composition for his fellow countryman Ástor Piazzolla. The music evokes not only Piazzolla’s unmistakable tango spirit but also the sonorities of his favored instrument, the bandoneón.
The San Francisco performance of this concert will take place on Wednesday, April 3, at 8 p.m. in Herbst Theatre. Single tickets range in price from $29 to $59 and may be purchased through the City Box Office event page or at 415-392-4400. There will also be an open rehearsal in Herbst at 10 a.m. on Tuesday, April 2, for which admission is $8.