Not that programming should be about new music quotas. There are artists whose main gifts are for amazing covers, not for premieres. And it helps to provide older but unfamiliar sounds to the audience. The Philharmonic, for example, has already presented a Haydn Symphony and a Brahms Serenade this season – neither a rarity, but both rarely performed by this orchestra.
Chamber Music Society, on the other hand, rarely ventures outside the box, and almost never into the work of our time. (That’s right, you don’t often hear Beethoven’s Op. 104 quintet, his arrangement of one of his early trios, which comes out in January.) room is exploding with new and relatively inexpensive works. to present, offers possibilities for experimentation much easier than orchestras or opera companies.
Some caveats are in order. The performance of the company is generally of an irreproachable quality. On Tuesday, Beethoven’s Trio in C minor (Op. 9, No. 3) received an aerial reading from violinist Arnaud Sussmann, violist Matthew Lipman and cellist Nicholas Canellakis. Hummel’s Lesser-known Piano Quintet in E-flat (Op. 87), features a double bass instead of a second violin, a witty minuet, and a short, painful slow movement; Lipman, Canellakis, pianist Wu Qian, violinist Richard Lin and bassist Blake Hinson played it in style.
Wu Qian and Wu Han – who is, along with David Finckel, the artistic director of the company – were graceful in Schubert’s Rondo en A for piano four hands (D. 951). And Wu Han, Lin, Sussmann (now on viola), Lipman, Canellakis and Hinson came together for a warm and lively rendition of Op. 110 Sextet in D, with its unusually heavy complement of low strings and raucous climax.
The company has also provided unwavering support to emerging musicians over the years. It was actively shown while theaters were closed. He honorably paid artists 50% of their promised fees after pandemic cancellations, and will add 75% more when those dates are postponed.