The Romantic Back

Image of Cordelia Hagmann holding Violin

Close Encounters With Music continues its 18th season Saturday, March 20, 6PM offering The Romantic Bach, a selection of Bach’s works reimagined by masters of the Romantic Era who wrestled with his revolutionary legacy. Brahms, Liszt, and Busoni, each from his own perspective, offered homage to the master they all revered through arrangements for the piano, the instrument of choice in their own time. Busoni, the tireless transcriber of Bach’s works, is represented by two Organ-Chorale Preludes, Liszt by an organ Fantasy and Fugue, and Brahms by his brilliant arrangement of the violin Chaconne for piano left hand. The program also includes Bach undiluted in the Violin Sonata No. 3 and the third Suite for Solo Cello and concludes with the premiere of a neo-Bach chamber work composed by Jonathan Keren that was commissioned by Close Encounters.

The performers include violinist Cordelia Hagmann who appears frequently as a chamber musician, recitalist and concertmistress in Europe and the U.S. She won top prizes at the Chesapeake Chamber Music Competition with the Moirae Trio in Winterthur and Zurich in her native Switzerland and has performed at Carnegie Hall, Merkin Hall, Alice Tully Hall, the Tonhalle in Zürich, KKL in Luzern, the Tel Aviv Conservatory, and the Jerusalem Music Center. As a soloist she has performed with the Musikkollegium Winterthur and the Temple Symphony Orchestra among others, and has been heard on Swiss National Radio.

Pianist James Tocco is widely regarded as one of the foremost interpreters of American masterworks, and his extensive discography, which reflects his varied tastes and astonishing versatility, includes the world premiere recording of Bernstein’s complete solo piano music, an all-Copland disc, the complete Chopin Préludes, the complete piano music of Charles Tomlinson Griffes, Erwin Schulhof ’s Cinq Etudes de Jazz, Bach-Liszt organ transcriptions, the four piano sonatas of Edward MacDowell, and Corigliano’s Etude-Fantasy. He is acknowledged to be the definitive interpreter of Corigliano’s Piano Concerto. Recent engagements include his Royal Concertgebouw debut, performing the MacDowell Concerto and Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, both under Leonard Slatkin. He is associated particularly with Bernstein’s Age of Anxiety, which he recorded with Leonard Slatkin and the BBC London Symphony. He has performed with most major American and European orchestras including the Chicago, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Detroit, Los Angeles, Minnesota, and Pittsburgh as well as the Berlin, London, and Munich Philharmonics. He is Eminent Scholar/Artist-in-Residence at the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music and Artistic Director of the Great Lakes Chamber Music Festival.

Yehuda Hanani’s charismatic playing and profound interpretations bring him acclaim and reengagements across the globe. An extraordinary recitalist, he is equally renowned for performances with orchestras such as the Chicago Symphony, Philadelphia Orchestra, Baltimore Symphony, St. Paul Chamber Orchestra, Berlin Radio Orchestra, Israel Philharmonic, BBC Welsh Symphony, Buenos Aires Philharmonic, Honolulu Symphony, Jerusalem Symphony, Lithuanian Chamber Orchestra, and Taipei and Seoul symphonies, among others. His recording of the monumental Alkan Cello Sonata —the first ever—received a Grand Prix du Disque nomination, and his other discs have won wide recognition. His best-selling recording of the Unaccompanied Bach Suites has become a standard-setter, and of his recent Naxos CD with the National Symphony of Ireland Fanfare Magazine wrote: “Renowned cellist Yehuda Hanani, great virtuoso that he is, handles this with astounding aplomb… .”

Close Encounters continues its tradition of commentary before each performance and of inviting the entire audience to a reception to meet the artists immediately following the concerts.

Tickets, $35 or $25 for adults and $10 for students, are available at The Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center box office, 413.528.0100, through Close Encounters With Music at 800-843-0778 or by emailing [email protected]. Please visit our website at

The Romantic Bach Saturday, March 20, 6 PM
Chopin and His Circle Saturday, April 24, 6 PM
Prague Spring—Czech Idyll Saturday, June 5, 6 PM

All performances take place at the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center, Great Barrington, Massachusetts

Tickets for the Conversations with… event is $25 which includes light refreshments:

Chopin Hour Sunday, April 26, 2 PM at the Hudson Opera House, Hudson, New York

“A chamber music series on a par with anything heard at the height of the season. For this, we year-rounders are blessed.” —Rogovoy Report

“‘L’Histoire” known in English as “A Soldier’s Story,’ … was an intriguing project, and a noble effort… [an]exuberant theatrical adventure… Stravinsky’s winsomely galloping waltzes, polkas and marches framing the dialogues were in superb hands with the ensemble…”

—Berkshire Eagle (December 2009)

“There’s a palpable mystique about these Close Encounters concerts.” —Berkshire Eagle

“STUNNER CLOSES SEASON! Though Hanani, Prutsman and Upshaw all performed with that rare combination of mutual understanding and technical finesse which makes for the most satisfying chamber music, Hanani deserves special recognition for his astute program choices.”

—Albany Times Union

“An all-star lineup…CEWM’s usual high caliber.” —Metroland

About Soldier’s Tale! performance December 2009: “…an intriguing project, and a noble effort… exuberant theatrical adventure… Stravinsky’s winsomely galloping waltzes, polkas and marches framing the dialogues were in superb hands with the ensemble.” —Berkshire Eagle