In St. Paul, Minnesota, a bar for Brahms

Posted on: June 5, 2015

“Who goes to a bar to hear Brahms?” writes Michael Anthony in Thursday’s (6/4) Star Tribune (Minneapolis). “As it happened, 130 or so people did just that Tuesday night, venturing to the Amsterdam Bar & Hall in downtown St. Paul” for an informal concert of Mozart and Haydn string quintets by the ensemble Accordo. “The program was part of an ongoing effort by the Schubert Club to explore unusual venues for its presentations…. Ken Freed, violist with the Minnesota Orchestra, acted as genial host…. Jokes proliferated. Freed pointed out that Franz Joseph Haydn probably played viola alongside Mozart in the first performance in Vienna of the latter’s Quintet No. 5 in D Major. But who played first viola, Haydn or Mozart? Cellist Ronald Thomas had the answer: Haydn always played the second viola part because he sat behind Mozart, which meant he was—here it comes—hidin’. The two violinists—Erin Keefe, concertmaster of the Minnesota Orchestra, and Ruggero Allifranchini, associate concertmaster of the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra—alternated in the first-violin chair. ‘It’s fun to do both parts,’ Keefe said.” Performers also included violists Rebecca Albers and Shuangshuang Liu.

Posted June 5, 2015