A tradition that began 31 years ago will once again grace the island as numerous repertoire and artists perform during the Sanibel Music Festival.
This year the festival will feature the Brentano String Quartet; Eric Lu, piano; the Daedalus String Quartet; Boston Chamber Music Society with Ann Hobson Pilot, Harp; Emerson String Quartet; An Evening with George and Ira Gershwin; and the Opera Theater of Connecticut - French Composers.
The concerts will begin Saturday, March 4, and run every Tuesday and Saturday throughout the month, at 8 p.m., at the Sanibel Congregational United Church of Christ, 2050 Periwinkle Way.
Single tickets can be purchased at Bank of the Islands, 1699 Periwinkle Way, and Sanibel Captiva Community Bank, 2477 Library Way. Tickets can also be ordered online at www.sanibelmusicfestival.org. Information about the festival and a detailed brochure can also be sought by calling (239) 3444-7025.
Eugene Drucker, who has been with the Emerson String Quartet since it was founded 40 years ago, said a commemorative CD set in honor of their anniversary became available this season.
Their program features Mozart String Quartet in C major, K. 465 "Dissonant", Debussy String Quartet in G minor, Op. 10 and Beethoven String Quartet in E-flat major, Op. 127 Saturday, March 18.
"We have been to Sanibel a number of times. We always enjoy playing there. We enjoy the circle of music lovers that sponsor these concerts," he said.
Drucker said the Mozart quartet begins with a slow introduction, suspended with harmonies. He said when the harmonies resolve they might clash with another note, which when the piece was first prepared and preformed, was thought of as a mistake.
"From a later perspective, that is what makes the introduction to this quartet so fascinating, it builds up the harmonic tension," Drucker said. "We appreciate something that pushes against the boundaries that was an acceptable norm and expands the range that was possible."
When the harmonic tensions dissipate in the Mozart piece, the music becomes fast, which he explained is more of what individuals expect of the Mozart sound.
"It's joyous. It's a very happy theme. The key is C major. It is an absolutely neutral key. It is a contrast to the opening," Drucker explained, adding that there is a brilliant last movement that wraps everything up. "It's structured the same as the beginning. It comes back to the same order . . . a sense of tying together and resolving things."
The program also includes Debussy, which incorporates a lush, harmonic pallet.
"It's a piece of pure genius," Drucker said. "It's quite different from the two other pieces. The thematic material that we hear at the beginning reappears in different rhythms in the second and fourth movement."
The piece, he said has certain themes that keep occurring with a tapestry that threads throughout. Drucker said you feel coherence and unity at an unconscious level.
The second movement of Debussy sounds like a giant single instrument with plucking of strings, while the third movement is muted offering "the most gorgeous sensational pieces of music in our repertoire."
The program concludes with four movements by Beethoven. The first movement, Drucker said opens with grand chords with a slow introduction before the music passes fluently into a lyrical faster part.
"As usual with Beethoven there is a big contrast between loud and soft and mood," he said.
The second movement includes a very foreign key, offering a mystical quality in the movement.
The last two movements of the Beethoven piece offers an earthier side where it expands the potential of four string instruments playing together.
The other performances include:
n Brentano String Quartet Saturday, March 4: Bach, Selections from The Art of Fugue, BWV 1080, Mendelssohn String Quartet in E minor, Op. 44, No. 2 and Beethoven String Quartet in F major, Op. 59, No. 1, "Razumovsky."
n Eric Lu, piano Tuesday, March 7: Mozart Rondo in A minor, K. 511. Schubert Impromptu in C minor, Op. 90, No. 1 (D899, No.1)?and Chopin, 24 Preludes, Op. 28.
n Daedalus Quartet, Saturday, March 11: Beethoven String Quartet in F major, Op. 18, No. 1, Jan?ek String Quartet No. 1, "After Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata" and Brahms String Quartet No. 3 in B-flat major, Op. 67.
n Boston Chamber Music Society with Ann Hobson Pilot, harp, Tuesday, March 14: Mozart Quintet for Clarinet, Two Violins, Viola and Cello in A major, K. 581, Jongen Deux Pices en Trio for Flute, Cello and Harp, Op. 80, Schubert Trio for Violin, Viola and Cello in B-flat major, D. 581 and Ravel, Introduction and Allegro for Harp, with the accompaniment of Flute, Clarinet and Strings.
n Music by George and Ira Gershwin, Tuesday, March 21: Girl Crazy, Lady Be Good, Funny Face and the Gershwin Songbook.
n Opera Theater of Connecticut - French Composers, Saturday, March 25: Excerpts from Operas by Massenet, Bizet and Gounod?Favorite French Pieces, including works by Offenbach, Delibes and Thomas.