In 1997 flutist Julie Scolnik and physicist Michael Brower founded a fresh new chamber music series to bring “unstuffy, unpredictable, and unmatched” performances to communities in the greater Boston area. This upcoming season marks the beginning of its 22nd season of offering a five-concert series in Andover and Brookline in which virtuosic, communicative artists perform unique thematic programs, from newly discovered gems to timeless masterpieces.
Mistral’s Andover concerts will take place at West Paris Church, 129 Reservation Road, an intimate venue that has beautiful acoustics and are perfect for chamber music. Andover concerts are at 4 p.m., and Brookline concerts at 5 p.m., time slots that seems to suit all generations as they allow people to enjoy much of the weekend daylight, and still have time for dinner after the concert.
This season Mistral is bringing back its Salon Series on the Friday evening before three of the concerts, at 6:30 p.m., for those who like to “fly first class” and enjoy chamber music in the intimacy of the living room of founders Julie Scolnik and Michael Brower.
The season kicks off with RONDOS, RAGS, & RIFFS, an infectiously fun program that highlights the jazzy, bluesy rhythms and harmonies in works of chamber music. The Salon concert will take place on Friday, Sept. 14, in the founders’ home in Brookline, on Saturday, Sept. 15, at West Parish Church in Andover, and on Sunday, September 16, at St Paul’s Church in Brookline. With a varied cast of players consisting of flute, clarinet, trumpet, piano and strings, it will include works by Martinu (The Kitchen Revue), Gershwin (Rhapsody in Blue, arranged for trumpet/piano), Schoenfield (Café Music for flute, cello, piano), and Bolcom (“Incineratorag” from Three Rags for string quartet ), it will include two works by Leonard Bernstein, as part of the ubiquitous 100th birthday celebrations of this Lawrence native, born in 1918 – his spunky clarinet sonata performed by international clarinet soloist Todd Palmer, and Bernstein’s and raucously entertaining aria from his opera, Candide, Glitter and be Gay, which is sure to bring audiences to their feet.
A WALK TO PARADISE GARDEN, a romp through the English countryside, will be presented the second weekend in November, with the Salon Concert on Friday, Nov. 9, in Brookline in the founders’ home, on Saturday, Nov. 10 in Andover at West Parish Church, and on Sunday, Nov. 11, at St Paul’s Church in Brookline. In the beguiling instrumentation of harp, flute & strings, this program of Elgar, Delius, and Vaughn Williams, offers works from four centuries of English composers, whose music often evokes pastoral landscapes. A quick jaunt across the English Channel brings the program to a close with an atmospheric harp quintet by French composer (and career naval officer) Jean -Michel Cras, whose musical compositions were inspired by his native Brittany and his sea voyages.
Mistral’s popular annual holiday concert, THE BAROQUE BIG BAND (and beyond), ushers in the holiday season on Saturday, Dec. 8, in Andover at West Parish Church, and Sunday, Dec. 9, in Brookline at Congregation Kehillath Israel. It will once again offer a plethora of uplifting Baroque works by Vivaldi, Scarlatti, Bach, Marcello, and will this time peek around the corner at the early Classical era with a cello concerto by Boccherini, and a dazzling flute concerto by C.P.E. Bach. As always, dynamic soloists will be taking turns in the spotlight, including Romanian violinist Irina Muresanu who will present a new arrangement of Bach’s riveting Chaconne with string quartet accompaniment. Boston Symphony’s principal oboist John Ferrillo returns to the Mistral stage to join forces with BSO colleague and Mistral member Julianne Lee in J.S. Bach’s ever-ravishing double concerto for oboe and violin.
DESIRE, DEVOTION, & DELIRIUM, our annual Valentine concert, will be presented on week-end of February 8-11, beginning with the Salon Concert in Brookline on Friday evening, Feb. 8, and continuing on Saturday, Feb 9 in Andover, and Sunday, Feb 10, in Brookline.
The relationship between Robert Schumann, Johannes Brahms, and the woman they both loved, Clara Wieck Schumann, has been called the greatest love triangle in the history of music. Both Brahms and Robert Schumann received endless creative inspiration from Clara, and the mutual love, respect, and admiration they felt for one another is well documented in hundreds of letters and diary entries that have survived. On the program: Robert Schumann’s String Quartet No. 1,
Clara Schumann’s: Piano Trio in G minor (in a flute arrangement by Scolnik), and the formidable Brahms Piano Quintet in F minor. Pianist Sophie Scolnik-Brower returns to the Mistral stage for this very Romantic Valentine program, and former Mistral members Juliet Kang (presently Associate Concert Master of the Philadelphia Orchestra), and her husband, cellist Tom Kraines, (Daedalus Quartet), will return in highly anticipated guest appearances.
POETIC JOURNEYS, on Sat. April 6, in Andover, and Sunday, April 7, in Brookline, brings Mistral’s 22nd season to a close with two ravishing orchestral works in new intimate arrangements performed without a conductor: Mahler’s five luscious songs, Rückert Lieder set to texts by German Romantic poet Friedrich Rückert, whose tone of far-reaching journeys of the soul and peaceful resignation is captured and amplified in the music. Wagner’s symphonic poem, Siegfried Idyll, was a gift to his second wife, Cosima, on their wedding day, and the chamber ensemble that he gathered to play on the steps of his villa on Christmas morning is very nearly recreated here. In both works, the transparent texture of the chamber versions reveals hidden aspects of the score, adding an intimacy in the performing and listening experience. Debussy’s Danses Sacrées et Profanes for harp & strings, performed by Mistral’s Moldovan harpist Ina Zdorovetchi, and a beguiling nonet for winds and strings by Rheinberger, round out the program. For more detailed program information please visit our website: www.MistralMusic.org
Single Tickets $35. Subscriptions of 3, 4, or 5 concerts, save $5 off each concert. Free Student Rush tickets with ID at the door if available. Contact Mistral about group and family discounts. Salon Concert Tickets: $85. Order securely online at mistralmusic.org or call 978-474-6222 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org
MISTRAL has been bringing “unstuffy, unpredictable, and unmatched” concerts with internationally renowned musicians to the Merrimack Valley and Greater Boston area since 1997. Under the leadership of Artistic Director Julie Scolnik, Mistral performances are always a little eccentric, stubbornly personal, impassioned, and committed to invigorating old traditions with an ever-youthful perspective. The Mistral 2018-19 concert season is funded in part by the Massachusetts Cultural Council.