Throughout each year, right here in little ol’ Los Gatos, there are abundant opportunities to go out and hear high quality live music. Two of the more popular concert series are Jazz on the Plazz which has been brining world renowned jazz music to the Los Gatos Town Plaza for over a decade and Los Gatos Music in the Park which is heading into its 27th season. Free to the public, these two popular summer concert series offer outstanding lineups at enjoyable outdoor settings in downtown Los Gatos. Vasona Vibrations, put on by South Bay Folks, has been brining Americana, blues, zydeco, Dixieland, jazz, big band, roots music, traditional and contemporary folk music to Vasona Park each summer for over 10 years and the Los Gatos Community Concert Association is now in the midst of their 66th season.
One less popular but no less powerful Los Gatos concert series is the Sunset Concert Series held at St. Luke’s Episcopal Church on University Avenue. Bringing awe-inspiring chamber music to discerning Los Gatos audiences since 1999, this is the place to be if you want to experience world class chamber music at an intimate venue with good acoustics and a highly appreciative audience. Unfortunately, unlike the music offered at Jazz on the Plazz and Music in the Park, chamber music is not popular and I understand that most people do not know much about it.
(This is not to say that chamber music is not appreciated by those of us who are “in the know”)
If you like classical music there is nothing like the intimate and dynamic experience of a chamber music performance. It is the classical equivalent of an acoustic or “unplugged” pop music performance. Instead of a large concert experience where you get big, loud and often indiscernible sound, at a chamber music performance the musicians get to show off their artistry, experience and technical expertise. You hear everything the musicians have to offer in an extraordinarily intimate and subtle, yet powerful way. At a chamber music performance, if we are able to sit still, let our minds go and really allow the music to lift us up and take us away, the musicians and audience can share an experience that is real, present and personal.
Photo used under creative commons courtesy of Ching
Last week I attended the second performance of the Sunset Concerts’ 2014 series where we heard the Mandelring Quartett perform Quartet in G Major, Op. 18/2, “Compliments” by Ludwid van Beethoven (1770 – 1827), String Quartet No. 6 in F minor, Op. 80 by Felix Mendelssohn (1809 – 1847) and String Quartet No. 2 in A Major, Op. 68 by Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 – 1975). I am by no means an “expert” in chamber music, but I felt that this performance was absolutely sublime. I thoroughly enjoyed being present in this quaint chapel, hearing every note and truly experiencing each nuance of this fabulous performance.
I highly recommend going to hear all of the live music that little ol’ Los Gatos has to offer – popular or not. We are fortunate to have such a rich and diverse history of high quality performances available to us each and every year.
For additional local chamber music, you may also want to visit the San Jose Chamber Music Society’s website at http://www.sjchambermusic.org.