CSO colleagues learn each other’s styles through chamber music

Leah Rankin | Staff Writer

If there is one thing required of musicians in the Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, it’s stamina. After wading through endless seas of music for the three concerts they perform each week, you would think the last thing a CSO musician would do with his or her precious free time is organize another concert.

Oh, how you’re wrong.

CSO French horn player Mark Robbins and violinist Marian Tanau have collaborated on a free chamber recital at 4:30 p.m. today in Fletcher Music Hall.

Pulling the concert together has been a year-long process, but neither Robbins nor Tanau thinks of it as work.

“I think it’s a wonderful thing to bring friends together to play chamber music,” Tanau said.

Both CSO musicians will perform together on each piece on the program, but they also will collaborate with CSO cellist Jeffrey Szabo and Nataliya Pinelis, the rehearsal pianist for the School of Dance.

One of the pieces, Trio for Piano, Violin, and Horn, Op. 40, by Johannes Brahms, was a natural choice for this combination of instruments. Tanau imagines that getting together with friends for this concert is not unlike the way Brahms used to sit at the piano with his friends to play music.

“It’s nice to get together in a more intimate setting to get to know a piece,” Robbins said.

Robbins, who also teaches horn at the Chautauqua School of Music, figures it’s about time he performed in a recital on the music campus.

“I imagine the students will want to hear me play after telling them what to do all the time,” he said.

Other works on the program include the Trio in E flat for Horn, Cello and Violin by Joseph Haydn, and the Trio for Horn, Violin and Piano by composer and conductor Gerard Schwarz.

“Haydn is like tea in the afternoon,” Tanau said.

Schwartz is the last of the guest conductors for the CSO’s 2011 Season. He composed this trio in 2010, and today’s performance will be the third time it has ever been performed.

“It will summarize the fact that he’s a phenomenal composer as well,” Tanau said.

Tanau and Robbins are not only colleagues in the CSO; they are neighbors in the Institution. Both musicians said playing chamber music allows them to form a better idea of each other’s styles.

The more they play together in an intimate chamber music setting, the easier it is to match musicianship within the wider scope of an orchestra, they said.
“Sometimes it’s hard to hear something all the way across the stage,” Robbins said.

“Chamber music lets you get to the essence of music,” Tanau added, “when in an orchestra, you can get lost in the grander scale.”

This chamber concert also allows the audience a more intimate look at the talent of the musicians of the CSO, musicians who are all too often separated by that elevated Amphitheater stage.

Donations for tonight’s concert benefit the Chautauqua Women’s Club Scholarship Fund.