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Masterpiece Discovery

Rehearsing Schubert’s String Quintet for our Masterpiece Discovery Debut

Sharing the meaning and impact of a masterpiece.

Masterpiece Discovery offers you much more than “stunning” performances by Salastina musicians. Brian Lauritzen, our resident host and musical docent, prepares you for the music. You make a richer and more emotional connection to it.

How it works:

First, we extract musical excerpts from the piece. Their deeper meaning within the context of the piece as a whole is then explained. Throughout, Brian shares details of the composer’s life and personality. The composer’s writing style and place in history is also explored. Once Brian concludes his tour, we perform the piece, uninterrupted. Primed, you take it in with an informed mind and open ears.

Resident Host Brian Lauritzen with Maia Jasper in January 2013

Resident Host Brian Lauritzen with Maia Jasper in January 2013

Since the inception of Masterpiece Discovery in the 2012/2013 season, Brian has led our audiences through guided tours of the repertoire’s great classics. (For the 2014/2015 season, the LA Phil brought Brian on board as host of their “Inside the Music” series. We encourage you to check it out!) Pieces we’ve explored to date include Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, Mendelssohn’s Octet for Strings, Brahms’ Clarinet Quintet, Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll, all six viola quintets of Mozart, Reena Esmail’s evocative Hindustani-inspired String Quartet, and many more.

In each “Masterpiece Discovery” concert, we ask:

~ What was the composer like?
~ What is the story behind this particular piece?
~ What makes the writing so masterful on a technical level?
~ What are the technical elements that the composer used to convey emotion, and what makes them so effective?
~ What was the impact of this piece on the history of music and art thereafter?
~ What is a masterpiece, and what makes this piece one of them?
~ How does a masterpiece elevate and enrich us?

What our audience is saying about Masterpiece Discovery:

“There is a big difference between hearing a piece of music and understanding it. In this single performance with the interspersed explanations by B. Lauritzen I came closer to understanding and appreciating the “Verklärte Nacht” than through all the combined performances I attended previously. That the ensemble is of superb quality goes without saying. I thoroughly enjoyed this evening.” ~ Robert Cauer

“Quite simply, it was far more than one could even have hoped for or dreamt about. The performance was completely stunning. It truly was as if each instrument and each sterling performer was transported to 1825 and the audience was allowed this personal encounter with precisely how young Mendelssohn meant it to be. Perfection.” ~ Mike Wilson

“I just encountered a most amazing Verklärte Nacht concert where the first half was a lecture demonstration and the second half of the “concert” was the performance.  The presentation was exceptional illustrating all of the main themes and showing how these same themes become “transfigured” throughout the work.” ~ Larry Schoenberg (son of Arnold Schoenberg)

“Wonderful musicians, great music. Also enjoyed the informality of being able to sit in on a bit of rehearsal at the beginning and meet some of the players. Besides being great players, they all seemed like genuinely good people. Brian Lauritzen’s commentary made the very descriptive music even more sharp in its intent.” ~ Andreas Kratky

To learn about upcoming Masterpiece Discovery performances, please click here.