AMHERST, Mass. - On Saturday, December 3, 2011, at 2:00 p.m., the Mead Art Museum at Amherst College will offer a free performance of Brahms's Clarinet Quintet in B-minor, Opus 115, by the group Arconte, comprised of Amherst College students Ioanida Costache, violin, Jessica McMillin, violin, Alexandra Morgan-Welch, viola, Jean Choi, cello, and Robert Flynn, clarinet. All are welcome; no tickets or reservations are required. The one-hour performance will be followed by an informal reception with the musicians.
Often described as autumnal, the Clarinet Quintet in B minor, Op. 115 is characterized by the sound of nature. With the first gesture in the piece Brahms opens up a vast sound-space with room for nature to unfold itself, murmuring brooks and all. Within this expanse, Brahms shapes a world that is wrought with expression and nostalgia, characteristics that are perfectly suited for the timbre of the clarinet. To close the movement Brahms unfolds a waltz-style variation that remarkably transforms itself into a return to the work's opening gesture. Violinist Ioanida Costache noted, "We feel profoundly the passage of time as Brahms conjures a heavy sense of bittersweet nostalgia for a past that can be revisited now only in memory."
The Mead Art Museum houses the art collection of Amherst College, totaling more than 16,000 works. An accredited member of the American Association of Museums, the Mead participates in Museums10, a regional cultural collaboration. During the academic term, the museum is open Tuesday through Thursday and on Sunday from 9 a.m. to midnight, and on Friday and Saturday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, please visit the museum's Web site, www.amherst.edu/museums/mead, or call413/542-2335.