Arts & Culture

Midwest Chamber Ensemble’s show promises exuberance; see ‘Die Fledermaus’ for a steal

The Midwest Chamber Ensemble will present Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet.
The Midwest Chamber Ensemble will present Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet. Midwest Chamber Ensemble

The Midwest Chamber Ensemble is calling its April 7 concert at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection “Warm-Hearted Chamber Music.”

For many casual classical fans and classical newbies, chamber music can come off as austere, dry and cerebral. But chamber music is as varied as any genre of music.

The main work on the Midwest Chamber Ensemble’s program, Robert Schumann’s Piano Quintet, is far from those stereotypes.

If Schumann suffered from bipolar disorder, as some speculate, then he must have written his piano quintet when he was in a manic phase. It bursts out of the gate with a movement marked “Allegro brillante,” which can mean “glittering” or “sparkling.” After a second movement funeral march, the final two movements are as exuberant as the first.

Schumann’s Piano Quintet is a landmark work of the Romantic era.

7:30 p.m. April 7 at Lutheran Church of the Resurrection, 9100 Mission Road, Leawood. $12. http://tinyurl.com/yxaptye2.

‘Visions of America’

If you haven’t yet, the Northland Symphony Orchestra is well worth discovering. Word is spreading about this plucky orchestra and its high standards and superb musicianship.

Conducted by its music director, Jim Murray, the orchestra will present “Visions of America” April 14 at Staley High School.

Murray, as usual, has chosen works that aren’t performed live nearly as often as they should be: William Schuman’s orchestration of Charles Ives’ Variations on “America,” Aaron Copland’s Tenderland Suite and Howard Hanson’s Symphony No. 2 “Romantic.”

A bit of trivia: “Romantic” was commissioned by the Boston Symphony Orchestra Hanson to celebrate its 50th anniversary. Also, a theme from the symphony was used over the closing credits of the film “Alien.”

3 p.m. April 14. Staley High School, 2800 NE Shoal Creek Parkway. Free. To learn more about the Northland Symphony Orchestra, visit www.northlandsymphony.org.

‘Die Fledermaus’ for a steal

“Die Fledermaus” for $12? It’s almost too good to be true.

The opera department of the University of Missouri-Kansas City’s Conservatory of Music and Dance will present “Die Fledermaus” for four performances in White Recital Hall, beginning April 11.

“Die Fledermaus” (“The Bat”) had its premiere in Vienna on April 5, 1874. It was the third operetta Johann Strauss II composed for the Theatre an der Wien, but it was his biggest hit and has proven to be enduringly popular. Its first performance was on Easter Sunday, and there was a bit of a scandal that such a libertine work should be performed on such a sacred day.

“Die Fledermaus” is an almost guaranteed good time. Who doesn’t like Strauss’s bubbly operetta? The tunes flow like champagne and the plot is as frothy as the whipped cream on a slice of sachertorte. And at this price, you might be able to convince your opera-doubting buddies to take a chance.

7:30 p.m. April 11, 12 and 13 and 2:30 p.m. April 14. White Recital Hall, 4949 Cherry St. $12. 816-235-6222 or http://tinyurl.com/y6s32ob7.

You can reach Patrick Neas at patrickneas@kcartsbeat.com and follow his Facebook page, KC Arts Beat, at www.facebook.com/kcartsbeat.

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