Music is the soundtrack to our lives—from the tune you slow-danced to at senior prom to the tune you slowly walked home alone to. Remember the good times with this Groupon.
- $12 for one ticket to a concert in the Cactus Pear Music Festival series (up to a $25 value)
- When: July 5–14
- Where: Coker United Methodist Church in San Antonio, First United Methodist Church in Boerne, and New Braunfels Presbyterian Church in New Braunfels
- Section: general admission
- Ticket values include all fees.
- Click here to view all performance options.
- Click here to view the festival's official calendar.
- Each performance includes a post-concert reception with appetizers.
Student and military discounted tickets are available but this Groupon still offers the best deal available.
Love's Geometry explores three very different shapes that earthly affection can take. First is Clara Wieck Schumann's Scherzo in D minor, a piece for solo piano that vibrates with passionate, barely contained energy. Clara's husband Robert Schumann then balances his wife's ardor with his own far more subdued and sentimental work. Finally, Johannes Brahms anchors the evening with a quartet whose earnest sweetness is rendered somewhat distant and reserved by its demanding precision.
Into the Mystic
The uncertainty of modern times is thrust to the fore in this program, beginning with the high tension of Pierre Jalbert's Trio. The ensemble repeats a central phrase many times, but it never quite seems complete, like a knock-knock joke cut short by an interrupting cow. Composer Kathryn Mishell sits at the keyboard for her own piece, Elegy for Violin and Piano, then sticks around for Lutoslawski's piecemeal contemplation Recitativo and Arioso. The concert then kicks into high gear with Lebanese jazz-master Rabih Abou-Khalil's Arabian Waltz, written for the oud and adapted for piano trio, before concluding with Olivier Messiaen's Quartet for the End of Time. Messiaen penned his piece in a German POW camp during WWII and first performed for nearly 400 of his fellow prisoners on dilapidated instruments.
On the Wind of Dreams, featuring the Aeolus String Quartet
Incredibly accomplished for their ages, Cleveland Institute of Music's Aeolus String Quartet brings youthful energy with the help of some similarly youthful composers. Lady Isabelle Was That Kind of Woman by 28-year-old songstress Alexandra T. Bryant draws on an Appalachian folk song as well as the myth of Bluebeard, and 31-year-old Dan Visconti's Black Bend eschews the rigidness of traditional composition with a hypnotizingly twisted violin line. To offset all that unconventionality, the quartet ends the performance on Maurice Ravel's String Quartet in F major, a lush and layered work as easy to sink into as a featherbed set in quicksand.
The three works of this program exude a timeless quality befitting their composers. Mozart's Clarinet Quintet in A major is a pastoral meditation enriched by an agile woodwind solo written when the clarinet was still relatively new. A pair of dueling quartets from Alexander Glazunov and Johannes Brahms respectively showcase Rube Goldberg-like complexity in their precision and intricacy. Though not the most well-known of works by their creators, these pieces somehow transcend familiarity and ring bells even with those who have not heard them before.
Dreams and Prayers
The final program of this year's festival focuses on the Jewish experience in the modern world. Gideon Klein's mournful and spare String Trio rose triumphantly out of the direst of circumstances, written from Theresienstadt concentration camp in 1944—a cultural act Nazis allowed to dispel rumors of extermination camps. Then Argentinean composer Osvaldo Golijov offers The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind, a work for klesmer clarinet hinged on an otherworldly wail, and Alan Shulman's Rendezvous mixes chamber and jazz sensibilities. A yearning, melancholy melody in Erich Wolfgang Korngold's String Sextet in D major signals both the changing of values as the world transitioned from the 19th to the 20th centuries and the end of the festival.