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As one attendee to the Newtown Friends Of Music (NFM) Farewell Concert October 15 at Edmond Town Hall explained, the rare coming together of two of the world’s great string quartets was the rock and roll equivalent of The Beatles and The Stones playing together — at the same time.
But if seeing this special performance of a 40-year Newtown chamber music tradition come to a close enjoying the Brentano and Daedalus Quartets was not enough, long-time patrons and curious attendees also were on hand to see a distribution of NFM reserve funds to ensure five other similar concert organizations would live on.
The NFM board, including the late longtime NFM president Ellen (Fahrenholz) Parrella’s daughter, Kaia Fahrenholz, decided the 2017 season would be a short one with only two performances, and that arrangements would be made to split the funds raised to help other grassroots chamber concert series continue to flourish.
As a result, representatives of Wilton Candlelight Concerts, the Danbury Concert Association, Pawling Concert Series, the Sherman Chamber Ensemble, and Danbury Music Center all came to the Edmond Town Hall Theatre and left with proclamations and distribution pledges or payments.
But it was the afternoon performance that was the draw for hundreds of string music lovers — and neither of the star headlining ensembles separately or together — disappointed.
In fact, each section of the show concluded with exuberant applause and appreciation for the Brentano String Quartet featuring Serena Canin, Mark Steinberg, Misha Amory, and Nina Lee, and the Daedalus Quartet featuring Min-Young Kim, Matilda Kaul, Jessica Thompson, and Thomas Kraines.
The farewell concert opened with the Brentano group performing Joseph Haydn’s String Quartete in B-Minor, Op. 64 No. 2, and the Daedalus ensemble delivering Beethoven’s String Quartet No. 16 in F-Major, Op. 135. Then, in a rare collaboration, all eight musicians returned for a thrilling rendition of Mendelssohn’s String Octet in E-flat Major, Op. 20.
Among the audience were NFM founders Kit Brinkman and Floyd Higgins, who was also the organization’s founder and the designer of its austere piano keys logo. Also honored were current board members Lea Attanasio, Paul Gehrett, Michel Dolivo, Bill Timmel, and Dorothea LaBelle.
Following the performance, patrons, board members and the performers enjoyed a reception in the town hall lobby, before moving to the Dere Street restaurant for a VIP gathering.