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The notion of "classical" frames our season, on one hand tracing how Viennese traditions evolved over two centuries, on the other, tracing the classical style through its cosmopolitan expression.

For the first time, our central concert moves us into downtown Madison and the charming simplicity of the beautiful Gates of Heaven. This one-story sandstone and brick synagogue, built in 1856, was slated for demolition in the 1970s, but fortunately moved to James Madison Park in 1996. Almost identical in size and proportion to our barn, it reminds us again that performance in a hall of the right size is crucial. During the Classical period and before

only symphonies, concertos, and overtures . . . were fully public, and everything else - sonatas, trios, and quartets - was performed in settings which would seem very intimate to us today . . . We inevitably play very differently in reaction to the larger spaces that must be filled with sound . . . Performing private works in public in a large hall alters the style of playing in many ways, some subtle and some gross, all largely unconscious as every one of us has become conditioned to think of all music in terms of public performance . . . We take a work of music specifically written for a public concert as the norm, and we do not realize to what an extent it is actually an anomaly in the history of music. Most works . . . were composed for a specific social function: court music or ecclesiastical music (both to be played on traditional occasions); chamber music or house music (to be played for friends and invited guests); or educational music (to be played by professional students and musicians in private).1

Again this season the Harbisons welcome you to the Barn, and also the Gates of Heaven, for "house music" of the highest order.

1 Charles Rosen, Critical Entertainments (Harvard University Press, 2000): pp. 299-301.

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