PHOTO: Gilbert Kalish performs in The Big Barn (Photo by Zachary Stephens)
PUTNEY - On Friday night Yellow Barn opens its 45th summer season with its own style of fireworks and tribute to American music. The wildly eclectic program offers a virtuosic display, beginning with Brett Dean's "Etudenfest" for 19 musicians improvising on virtuosic themes, two violin caprices, and two pieces that are so rhythmically complex that only a player piano can execute them. The second half is dedicated to Ives's monumental "Concord" piano sonata, performed by Yellow Barn faculty member Gilbert Kalish. Other works on the program include Kurt Weill's "Four Walt Whitman Songs" and Elliot Carter's String Trio (Ives was Carter's mentor, thus setting up a theme of teacher-student relationships that runs throughout the season.) A celebration at The Gleanery will follow the performance. ($28 General admission at The Big Barn, 8 p.m.)
The season opening festivities continue on Saturday, starting with a masterclass given by Gilbert Kalish, a renowned pedagogue, and concluding with a performance of Dvoák "Dumky" piano trio given by Yellow Barn's longstanding Ensemble-in-Residence, The Peabody Trio. Saturday night's offerings also include Bach's Oboe Concerto, performed by oboist Mark Hill, and two songs based on Goethe's "Nachtlied", on by Schubert and one by Widmann for soprano and mixed ensemble. ($25 general admission at The Big Barn, 8pm)
Preceding the Saturday night concert is a discussion led by Wellesley College Professor Jens Kruse, who will speak about Goethe's "Nachtlied", one of the most revered poems in the German language, along with the musicians who will perform the songs that night. (Free admission at the Putney Public Library, 7 p.m.)
Tickets for both performances can be purchased online, or by calling 802-387-6637. More information is available at www.yellowbarn, and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/YellowBarn.