Last week I wrote about the Apollo Academy, a wonderful four-day retreat at a facility called “Ratna Ling” located in the coastal mountains of Northern California’s Sonoma County. The Academy – the brainchild of a surgeon and cellist named Bill Moores – focuses on “mind/body synchronization that enhances mental and physical health. Optional sessions include immersion in the natural environment, poetry-writing, yoga, and the role of seasonal foods.”
Yes, lovely and all very well-and-good, though the heart and soul of the Academy is chamber music. Open to performers and non-musician auditors alike, this year’s program was entitled “String Quartet Masterpieces of Mendelssohn, Schumann and Brahms.” These quartet masterworks were performed by the Alexander String Quartet with yours truly acting as host and lecturer.
Here’s how our concert-presentations worked:
Each of our three sessions was delivered in two parts: for an hour before dinner (4:30pm-5:30pm) and hour-and-a-half after dinner (6:30pm-8:00pm).
On day one (September 6), we presented a program entitled “The Mendelssohn Conundrum”, during which I discussed and the ASQ performed Mendelssohn’s String Quartets in A Minor, Op. 13 (of 1827); F Minor, Op. 80 (of 1847) and excerpts from his String Quartet in E Minor, Op. 44 (of 1837).
On day two, we presented a program rather provocatively (but accurately) entitled “Schumann: Lust, Love
On day three we presented “Brahms and the Beethoven Legacy”, a concert-presentation that featured Brahms’ String Quartets in C Minor, Op. 51, no. 1 and A Minor, Op. 51, no. 2, both published in 1873. …………