Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

July 1, 2008

Aston Magna Concert

Simon’s Rock, Great Barrington
By Debra Tinkham

The young Felix Mendelssohn’s music took the stage in Great Barrington with the Sinfonie no. 10 in B minor – three short movements, without break. Although originally written for two violins, two violas and the violincello/bass, the performance featured a string quartet. Before the Sinfonie started, it had already ended. This is a true sign of the Aston Magna performers. They make it so wonderful, it’s over before it has begun.

Quintet No. 1 in A Major, Opus 18 displayed an array of wonderful dynamics and emotions. Cellist Loretta O’Sullivan especially had a mesmerizing style during her performances. However, enough just cannot be said of Daniel Stepner. His flair, flamboyance, style, brilliance, devotion, commitment, and pure love of what he does is so apparent.

Octet in E-Flat Major, Opus 20 featured Stepner, with the most flamboyant part of the eight, but the audience could not miss the overlapping interactions of the other seven performers. The four movement Opus, a la octet, gave many forms – ongoing contrasting themes, chromatic scales throughout, an ever present liveliness and yet an emotional stoicism on the faces of the performers.

During the Scherzo movement (third) those in attendance experienced a whimsical, almost mystical, soft-spoken fairy tale. The different styles of this octet were certainly varied, and as their personalities become one with their instruments, it still boils down to an evening that you not soon to forget. The summer season has just begun, with more Aston Magna concerts in store.