Chamber music fest: Brahms, Weiss, Franck

MOUNT DESERT—The Mount Desert Festival of Chamber Music, now in its 55th season, continues with concerts July 31 and Aug. 7, both at 7:30 p.m. at the Neighborhood House in Northeast Harbor.

The July 31 concert will feature violinist Stephanie Chase, violist Dov Scheindlin, cellist Mark Shuman, pianist and festival Music Director Todd Crow and Canadian soprano Dominique Labelle.

Labelle, who reviewers have praised for her “profoundly beautiful singing” and “luscious voice,” will be heard in songs by Brahms and Manuel de Falla (the seven Spanish folksongs). The concert will end with the Piano Quartet in C Minor by Richard Strauss, written when he was 20 years old and under the strong influence of Brahms.

The concert opens with the six bagatelles for piano, violin and cello by New York-based composer Norman Weiss, a fixture on the Broadway musical scene for many years and currently assistant conductor and keyboardist for Broadway’s “The Phantom of the Opera.” Written in 2014, the six short bagatelles are distinctly American-sounding, often jazzy and with spiky rhythms.

On Tuesday evening, Aug. 7, Crow will join the acclaimed Borromeo String Quartet for a program of two French masterworks, Cesar Franck’s String Quartet and Gabriel Fauré’s Piano Quintet No. 2.

The Boston-based Borromeo String Quartet is ensemble-in-residence at both the New England Conservatory of Music and the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum.

The opening piece on the concert will be Franck’s only string quartet, completed in 1890, and his final and longest chamber work. “Marcel Proust was a fan of Franck’s music and this quartet in particular, famously requesting a private performance of it at his home in Paris,” Crow said. Gabriel Fauré’s second piano quintet is also a late work, written in 1921 when the composer was almost completely deaf and in poor health.

The festival presents weekly concerts through Aug. 21. Visit


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