Chamber Music Hilton Head opens its 10th Anniversary season with a concert at All Saints Episcopal Church on Monday, October 29. Most of the participating musicians are core members of the ensemble, with oboist Lauren Stuligross and pianist Jean Shamo being Island residents. Sharing assignments with Jean will be guest Karla Qualls, head of the piano accompanying program at Georgia Southern State University in Statesboro. The concert begins with Brahms’ Sonata in E Minor for Cello & Piano. In classical music, a “sonata” can be for either one instrument alone or, as in this case, a duet. The E Minor Sonata is among only a handful that truly capture the presence and majesty of its two magnificent instruments. Written in 1865, it explores the sonorous, lower register of the cello while keeping the piano an equal but not overwhelming partner. The leisurely first movement is followed by an impish Menuet and Trio, and Finale is in heroic fugal style.
     Charles Martin Loeffler is not exactly a household name, even among classical music buffs. Born in France, reared in Switzerland, and trained as a violinist in German, Loeffler came to the New World in the 1880s to try his luck in America’s fledgling symphony orchestras. Hugely successful, he served as assistant concertmaster in the Boston Symphony until age 50, whereupon he put down the violin, married, became a gentlemen farmer, and emersed himself in composition.
     Two Rhapsodies for Oboe, Viola & Piano, composed in 1901, show a composer less formal than, say, Brahms, and wishing more to express nuance, tone color, and emotion. For these purposes, he chose his instruments perfectly. Viola conveys depth of feeling, oboe adds exotic detail, and both are sustained by the reassuring ebb and flow of piano. One hears intimations of many composers – understandable considering Loeffler’s extensive orchestral experiences – and the resulting mix is reflective of the many musical styles vying for attention at the beginning of a new century.
     Music by Franz Joseph Haydn concludes the concert, his famous Op. 76 No 3 String Quartet, nicknamed “Emperor.” Composed in 1797, it is one of those flawless and moving pieces that musicians love to play and audiences love to hear. Each of its four movements has a distinct character, but listeners will be especially intrigued by the second. Its melody is immediately recognized as “Deutchland, Deutchland Uber Alles,” the German national anthem. Haydn had exactly that in mind, fashioning it after Britain’s “God Save the King” with the hope that it would inspire a similiar patriotic ferver.
     The concert is at All Saints Episcopal Church, 3001 Main Street, Hilton Head Island and begins at 7:30 pm. Tickets are $18 and may be purchased online or at the door. Information at 843.681.9969 or