With the Maverick Concerts season just recently ended, I’m particularly thankful for Saugerties Pro Musica to occupy at least some of my Sunday afternoons. The season got off to a fine start with the duo of cellist Rebecca Hartka and pianist Inesa Sinkevych. Sinkevych played a superb recital for SPM two years ago and I hope the series never lets another year go by without her. Hartka, a fine cellist, proved a worthy partner. Their performance of Beethoven’s “Bei Mannern” Variations had excellent balance, both instruments strongly present, along with plenty of spirit, wide dynamics and nuance. Debussy’s Cello Sonata, perhaps my favorite work of his, benefitted greatly from Sinkevych’s glorious piano tone, but both players showed great subtlety and color in this enigmatic music. I was a little disappointed in Schumann’s “Fantasy Pieces,” Op. 73; the first was too placid, the second too fast, the third relatively glib. But the concluding work, Franck’s Cello Sonata (just an arrangement of his beautiful Violin Sonata), showed the duo in its best light. Both instruments sounded just plain wonderful, and I loved the rhapsodic quality of the slow movement. For me, the concert would have been worth attending just for the magical sound of Sinkevych’s piano at the beginning of the encore, Ravel’s “Habanera.” Overall a joyous occasion. SPM continues on Sunday, October 23 with Prometheus Brass at the usual venue, Saugerties United Methodist Church, corner of Washington Ave. and Pine St., 3 p.m. The Prometheus program, “Salut! to Oktoberfest,” includes works of the Three B’s (Bach, Beethoven, Brahms), and Scott Joplin; the players are all successful New York pros. Information is available at www.saugertiespromusica.org.
Alas, that was the only concert I got to in September. October will be better. The Hudson Valley Philharmonic begins its 2016-17 season on Saturday, October 8, at the Bardavon Opera House, Poughkeepsie, at 8 p.m. Randall Craig Fleischer begins yet another season of his fine directorship with a film-oriented program, starting with two movements from the “Serenada Schizophrana” by Danny Elfman, best known perhaps as the composer of the “Simpsons” theme but now an accomplished orchestral composer. Rachel Barton Pine, one of the finest violinists alive, plays the Violin Concerto by Erich Wolfgang Korngold, a work based on themes from several of his movie scores. Irving Kolodin called the piece “more corn than gold” but it’s become popular recently with violinists and audiences. The concert concludes with Mahler’s Fourth Symphony. For tickets and information on this concert and the beginning of the Met Live in HD series (starting with “Tristan und Isolde” on October 15), check out www.bardavon.org.
There’s an intriguing little venue developing on Broadway in Kingston: the Artbar, a bar and art gallery which is presenting classical and jazz concerts. On October 20, a Thursday evening, trumpeter Sage Boris will play a classical program at 8 p.m., and there are further classical concerts scheduled for November and December. Artbar also has jazz performances on October 9 and continuing. I haven’t been able to get to the first classical concerts but I hear they’ve drawn good audiences. Check out www.artbargallery.com/events. The New Paltz schedule is now well underway, and you can find a variety of events at www.newpaltz.edu/events. One worthwhile classical concert is a program of sonatas and trios by Beethoven and Barber by the excellent trio Innisfree on October 18, 8 p.m., at Studley Theater. Admission is a measly $8.
And then there’s our local classical behemoth, Bard College, for which I can list only highlights. Investigate for yourself at www.bard.edu/news/events. Peter Serkin’s Project, last season devoted to Haydn, will be Mozart this season and has moved to the more accessible time of Sundays at 3 p.m. at the Bitó Conservatory Building. The season continues on October 16. No admission price or tickets, just walk in. The Orchestra Now, under music director Leon Botstein, plays at Sosnoff Theater on October 29/30, works of Britten, Mahler, Walton, and Elgar with cellist John Belk soloist in Walton’s Cello Concerto. I’m also intrigued by a concert in the Music Alive! series of works by composers in their 30s, October 23, Bitó, 3 p.m. Check the website for lots more, and make sure you go out and hear some live music.