When cellist Peter Sanders returns to Randolph’s Chandler Center for the Arts next week for the 28th annual Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, he and his professional music colleagues will be leaving a COVID-fatigued New York City behind.
“I’m hoping that there will be a sense of calm and making music at Chandler that will give us solace,” he said.
Sanders, founder of this festival and a cellist with the New York City Ballet, describes the 2021 two-week season as “not old and not new. It’s the whole redo of the last season is what it’s about.”
The Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, for 2021, will present two major programs (Aug. 14 and 21), open rehearsals, a community concert (Aug. 11), a barbershop quartet (Aug. 15), and repeat of the Aug. 20 program in Woodstock (Aug. 22).
Last year — the summer of COVID — the festival presented only one concert, the McLanes — pianist Annemieke and accordionist Jeremiah McLane — Aug. 21 indoors at Chandler, making it them the second organizations (after Taconic Music in Manchester) in Vermont to present indoors since the beginning of the pandemic.
“Watching that stream in my living room (in New Jersey) and watching a live audience react,” Sanders said, “it was really very emotional for me to sit in my living room and hear that. I owe it really to Chandler — they really worked hard.”
Otherwise, this year’s programs are what were intended for last summer — with a few exceptions. The loss of the Vermont Youth Orchestra collaboration, due to a scheduling problem rather than COVID, will be replaced with the community concert, pianist Adrienne Kim playing J.S. Bach’s Keyboard Concerto No. 5. The McLane concert will be more kid-oriented, and the usual Vermont Public Radio program won’t happen.
“Other than that, it’s the exact same program for what was to be the 28th season last summer — same artists, same programs,” Sanders said.
For the first major program, “Piano & Strings,” pianist Kim, violinists Joanna Maurer and Louise Owen, violist Michael Roth and cellist Sanders will perform Robert Fuchs’ Trio in F-sharp minor, Op. 115; Franz Schubert’s Quartettsatz in D minor, D. 703; and Giuseppe Martucci’s Piano Quintet in C Major, Op. 45.
“The Martucci is gorgeous writing, really rich, luscious Romantic music. And it will be really fun to play, Sanders said. “I hope the audience will be willing to take the dive into music they don’t know. With the Schubert Quartettsatz in the middle, how can we miss?”
Sandwiched between the two major programs is something completely new to the festival, the Daily Special barbershop quartet.
“They’re really into it,” Sanders said. “They have that youthful energy that I used to have. It comes across.”
The second major program, “String Quartets,” will feature violinists Arturo Delmoni and Roth (this time on violin), violist Katarzyna Bryla-Weiss and cellist Sanders performing Haydn’s Quartet in G minor, Op. 74, No. 3 (“The Ryder”); Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Three Preludes on Welsh Hymn Tunes; and Beethoven’s String Quartet in F minor, Op. 18, No. 1.
“We’re just going to have some fun,” Sanders said. “We’re going to switch first violin. Michael will play first on the Haydn and Arturo will play first on the rest of it.”
“The Vaughan Williams is a nice kind of sorbet breaker between those two big name composers,” Sanders added. “It’s beautiful music. I’ve only heard it in the orchestral version, but with maestro Delmoni’s lush sound it will work as well.”
The Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival is designed to give pleasure to its audiences — but also to its musicians.
“It’s generally been fun because you know who you’re hiring,” Sanders said. “You want to enjoy making music together. Isn’t that what chamber music is all about?”