Cambridge Society for Early Music Concert

February 20, 2016 @ 8:00 pm
$25 members/seniors, $30 general public, students with ID--free
Flynn Warmington


Reserve tickets with CSEM at 617-489-2062 or online at

Diderot String Quartet, from New York City with Sarah Darling, guest violist

Five’s a Crowd: Viola Quintets

 Boccherini, Mozart & Mendelssohn

A mid-winter’s night, just the time to get out and warm your soul with chamber music at “Five’s a Crowd: Viola Quintets.” The performers will be the Diderot String Quartet, a young and lively period-instrument group from New York City, joined by an extraordinary guest violist: Sarah Darling, a native of Carlisle. The viola quintet–a string quartet with an added viola–is a surprisingly rich and varied ensemble that sounds almost orchestral.The program is wide-ranging, with quintets of Boccherini, Mozart, and Mendelssohn. The Boccherini, a rarely-heard treat from 1802, has dazzling fiddling, a sweetly floating Adagio, and an intriguing finale– rhythmically snappy, mysteriously in the minor mode (a Zarzuela?), with a charming evanescence from the stage.

The Mozart (K 516) is a famous work in the turbulent and melancholy key of G minor, evoking, at its heart, a profound sense of grief.

Tchaikovsky said of the slow movement, “No one has ever known as well how to interpret so exquisitely in music the sense of resigned and inconsolable sorrow.”

The tragic mood surprisingly gives way to a carefree frolic at the end.

Finally, the Mendelssohn is an exuberant piece composed by the young genius at age seventeen and revised in his early twenties. Among the highlights are the slow movement, filled with dramatic and tender moments, and the scherzo in the magical, pixyish vein of A Midsummer Night’s Dream. There is no doubt about it: sprites are scampering about, up to their usual tricks. The finale has bold themes enlivened by brilliant violin fireworks and soothed by lyrical interludes. Mendelssohn’s love of Bach bursts out in exciting little fugues that run away with the show, almost–a triumphal ending.

Reception follows.

Please preview some of the music and get to know the performers with the links below.


THE PROGRAMBoccherini: String Quintet in D major, Op. 62, No. 5,G 401 (1802)Mozart: String Quintet in G minor, K 516 (1787)Mendelssohn: String Quintet in A major, Op. 18 (1826/1832)Links to Diderot Quartet Diderot Quartet web site

Repertoire and videos of live performances

Johanna Novom, violin

Adriane Post, violin

Kyle Miller, viola

Paul Dwyer, cello

Sarah Darling, viola, web site


Links to Recordings of Works on the Program (by other groups)

Boccherini Links

Ulrich Knörzer, Petersen Quartet

Boccherini, Op. 62, no. 5

I. Allegro molto

II. Adagio cantabile

III. Allegro assai


Mozart Link

Hausmusik, led by Monica Huggett

String Quintet in G Minor, K 516 


Mendelssohn Link

L’Archibudelli: Vera Beths & Lucy Van Dael, violins; Jürgen Kussmaul & Guus Jeukendrup, violas; Anner Bylsma, cello

 String Quintet No. 1 in A Major Op. 18–1826-1832