The Valley of the Moon Music Festival begins its fourth season this weekend, with a program called “Vienna in Transition: from the Enlightenment to the Dawn of Modernism.” Co-founders Tanya Tomkins and Eric Zivian have, in previous years, played music of the Classical and Romantic eras on period instruments. This year, the geographic theme allows them to travel farther ahead in time than they’re accustomed to, including repertoire from the beginning of the 20th Century.

There’s more information at the Valley of the Moon Music Festival website.

“I love doing historic instruments, but I hate to be confined to one period of music,” Tomkins says. “I think that’s the tragedy of specializing in historic performance practice.” But they’ll still be playing music of Mozart, Beethoven, and Schubert, who were all associated with Vienna, and some of the composers who connected that era to Schoenberg. “The Mozart Horn Quintet, so we’ve got that period of music, and that was wonderful in Vienna, and then it turned into this by the beginning of the 20th Century. And we wanted to show how that happened. Still, we’re not on steel strings yet. There were no steel strings yet when this was composed in 1908.” Which means that they are staying true to their mission, playing with gut strings, as it would have first been performed. This year they’ll also be starting a lecture series, in addition to their performances, apprentice program, and – taking advantage of their Sonoma location – finishing concerts with a sunset glass of local wine. On their final day, Sunday July 29th, they’ll have a coffeehouse-inspired Schubert concert, with a violin sonatina and his Octet in F Major. Tomkins adds: “We’ve got all these wonderful players, and people that are slightly from the modern world, slightly from the early world, all coming together… We’re just very excited to extend our repertoire, and get a little more adventurous, so that we’re not stuck in one period.”

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