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In Brief:
Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center

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With all the thematic programs, pre-concert lectures, and many instructive ancillary events that make up the music scene these days, performing institutions have taken over the job of music education from the schools. The Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center has joined the trend, and is now midway through a modest mind-expanding series entitled “Musical Evolutions: 1887-1920,” concerts designed, says artistic director David Shifrin, to illuminate “the remarkable range and explosive evolution of musical styles from the late-nineteenth century to just beyond World War I.”

I can do even less justice to such a huge topic here than the society can in the course of six programs, cleverly chosen as they are to show how many startlingly different works were composed during that brief period of dramatic stylistic change. The opening concert by the Orion String Quartet and guests playing scores by Fauré, Ravel, and Dvorák got the series off to a safe but musically strong start, and the more adventurous fare this week (Stravinsky, Janácek, Schoenberg, Webern, Debussy) should effectively challenge and instruct the society’s conservative patrons without unduly rattling more tender sensibilities.


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