Serving the San Francisco Bay Area New Music Community

Fri, Apr 6 2018 8:00 PM

Irrera Brothers Duo

The “riveting and dynamic” Irrera Brothers Duo come to Old First Concerts with a program of music for violin and piano by Vitali, C. Schumann, Stravinsky, Dietrich, R. Schumann, and Brahms.

Irrera Brothers Duo
John Irrera, violin; Joseph Irrera, piano

Tomaso Antonio Vitali Chaconne in G minor
Clara Wieck Schumann Three Romances, Op. 22
Igor Stravinsky Suite italienne
Albert Dietrich, Robert Schumann, and Johannes Brahms FAE Sonata

The award winning Irrera Brothers Duo presents a concert of music which spans the gamut of human emotion and experience. The program begins with Vitali’s Chaconne, a work of fiery virtuosity whose origin presents intrigue. The work, credited to the Baroque composer, features musical characteristics and a virtuosic flair that is uncommon for this period, leading many to question who truly wrote the work. Despite this ambiguity, the work has become a favorite of audiences the world over, and was a personal favorite of Heifetz. Also on the program is the the lush and poignant Three Romances, which were among the last pieces composed by Clara Schumann. Their simple yet achingly beautiful melodies fill the work to the brim, and make one long for a greater compositional output from this musical genius. The program continues with Stravinsky’s Suite italienne, which combines the noble and courtly styling of the classical period with Stravinsky’s own quirky style, making the music distinctly his own. The program concludes with the rarely heard FAE Sonata. Composed in 1853 as a present for violinist Joseph Joachim, the work is comprised of movements by three different composers: Brahms, Albert Dietrich, and Robert Schumann. The initials of Joachim’s personal motto, Frei aber ensam (free but lonely), became the inspiration for the work, as each movement is based on the musical notes F-A-E, a musical cryptogram.

Cited by the New York Concert Review as providing a “riveting and dynamic performance” at their 2013 Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall concert, the acclaimed Irrera Borthers Duo has captivated audiences throughout the United States and abroad, and have been hailed by the late world-renowned violinist and pedagogue Zvi Zeitlin as “two gifted boys.” Joseph and John have also performed at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, Spivey Hall at Clayton State University, Rochester’s Kodak Hall at Eastman Theatre and internationally throughout Europe and Central America. They have released CD recordings, including Beethoven & Prokofiev and Vitali, featuring Russell Scarbrough’s Bow Shock, written for them and premiered at Weill Recital Hall at Carnegie Hall in 2013. Currently, the duo is completing a multi-year recording project of the complete violin and piano works by Robert Morris, Professor of Music at the Eastman School of Music. Included on the album will be Drawn Onward – Fantasy for Violin and Piano, composed for the Irrera Brothers in 2014. In addition to their duo collaboration, Joseph and John Irrera are also celebrated soloists.