The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center returns with splendor to Drew University

Arnaud Sussmann
Although retired since 2014, I still relish opportunities to teach, write, and share opinions.
The covid pandemic closed the venue in March 2020, so it is especially wonderful that the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center (hereinafter CMS) was invited to return to the bucolic Drew University campus in Madison, NJ. 
 
This first program in a series of three featured a Beethoven trio, a sonatina by Dvorak, and a Piano Quartet of Brahms. The four artists were Wu Han, piano, David Finckel, cello, Paul Neubauer, viola, and Arnaud Sussmann, violin. To say that they played magnificently would be an understatement. From the very first chord of the Beethoven Trio, their playing beguiled, shocked, and soothed in this beautiful, acoustically rich venue. Mr. Sussmann was especially magnetic with his dark, Mediterranean handsomeness, while Mr. Neubauer’s cool exterior belied his passionate inner fire. The lovely Wu Han and her equally lovely husband David Finckel both (paraphrasing in part William Congreve) soothed and inflamed many a savage breast in the hall.
 
The Dorothy Young Center for the Arts includes a magnificent Concert Hall. Built in 2005, it boasts 433 seats and an impossibly beautiful acoustic presence based upon the concert hall of the Berlin Philharmonic. 
Paneled in wood, there is an amoeba-like sonic baffle floating in the center of the ceiling, with the ceiling being covered by a taut fabric, not unlike a giant artist’s canvas. These measures give this hall a magnificently warm and satisfying sound. 
 
The four artists mentioned are outstanding artists with decades of experience at the most prestigious halls in Europe and America. Their communication was clear and fine, exploding with passion. For an encore prompted by audience demand, the four returned to the stage after the conclusion of the fiery Brahms Quartet to have Paul Neubauer lead in a virtuosic Gypsy serenade on viola. This spawned yet another standing ovation from the audience. 
 
New Jersey is not known for excellence in chamber music. These concerts by the CMS are precious and rare splendors which any music lover must experience. It is truly worth your while to zip over to Madison, NJ, to experience what might possibly be the revelation of a lifetime. Schedule their January and April concerts right now in your calendars.
 
The CMS will appear again at Drew University on January 28, 2023, and April 15, 2023. Both are Saturdays at 7:30 pm. for information and tickets, 973-408-3889, or [email protected] .

The Program– Beethoven Trio in G major for Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 9, No. 1 (1797-98)– Dvořák Sonatina in G major for Violin and Piano, Op. 100 (1893)– Brahms Quartet No. 1 in G minor for Piano, Violin, Viola, and Cello, Op. 25(1860-61)

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