Capital City Concerts presents its Valentine’s Day program “Heart & Soul” — albeit a few days late — at 3 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 17, at Montpelier’s Unitarian Church. The major work will be Johannes Brahms’ Piano Trio No. 1 in B major, Op. 8.
“It’s funny to have Brahms on a Valentine’s concert, given his personal life,” explains cellist Edward Arron, referring to the composer’s unrequited love for Clara Schumann. “But if you want to think of Romantic era music, Brahms fits very nicely.”
Arron will be joined by his wife, pianist Jeewon Park, violinist Theodore Arm and flutist Karen Kevra, the series’ artistic director. Also on the program are Piazzolla’s “Grand Tango” for cello and piano, Jules Massenet’s “Meditation” from “Thaïs” for violin and piano, and Camille Saint-Saëns’ “Romance” for flute and piano.
“In addition to chamber music, the afternoon will offer extraordinary complimentary sweets prepared by chef Andre Burnier,” Kevra said. A native of Sallanches, France, Burnier has worked in fine dining establishments in France, New York and Bermuda, and was a chef instructor at the New England Culinary Institute.
Arron and Park, who live and teach in Amherst, Massachusetts, have become an integral part of the Vermont music scene. In addition to being regulars on this series, Park has performed at Randolph’s Central Vermont Chamber Music Festival, and both perform regularly at the Lake Champlain Chamber Music Festival in Colchester, among others.
“If you count all the different entities that have kind of become family for us, it does get us up there — and we sure love it,” Arron said recently by phone.
He went on to wax eloquent about the Brahms’ B major Trio, a longtime favorite.
“I grew up loving that piece so much, and I remember so vividly wishing I could be playing it,” Arron said. “So now, it’s probably 50 or 60 performances of it later, and I make a point of not losing sight of that love for that piece. It really does something to me. I feel very emotional when I play it.”
Arron is particularly happy to be playing it with Arm, formerly a member of the Boston Symphony Orchestra and the legendary chamber ensemble Tashi, and a regular on this series.
“Teddy has that wonderful Old-World sensibility that has inspired me over the years,” Arron said. “I first played with Teddy when I was 13 years old. I played the Beethoven Op. 1, No. 1 Piano Trio with him at a festival in Colorado.
“Then many, many years went by in between, and then I took over this series in Old Lyme, Connecticut (that Charles Wadsworth used to run). Teddy was living nearby, and he came to cheer me on at every concert I’ve done there. Our relationship was built on that.
“Our occasions to play together have been seldom, but always musically special,” Arron said. “He’s an elegant man and an elegant musician.”
Piazzolla (1921-92) wrote his “Grand Tango” in 1982 for the great Russian cellist Mstislav Rostropovich, who went on to record it.
“It’s a really excellent composition,” Arron said. “I happen to love Piazzolla’s music. There’s a bit of a saturation point in our circles, but I do love his music. And of all the Piazzolla I have had a chance to play, either in arrangements or in original compositions, this one has the most layers of high-quality composition.”
And Arron finds the piece true to its name, “Grand Tango.”
“It’s not this rinky-dink thing,” he said. “It has multiple sections, kind of a fantasia form. You see really big themes — there’s melancholy, there’s vulnerability, there’s of course the machismo. And he really gets both the piano and the cello down good in that piece. It lies well in the instruments. I really do enjoy the piece.
“Jeewon and I have played it a lot,” Arron said.
And, as their own Valentine, Arron and Park have added Saint-Saëns’ beloved “The Swan” from his “Carnival of the Animals.”
“It’s so beautiful,” Aaron said. “It’s such a simple, beautiful thing.”