Sospiri Trio to fill Rollins with ‘Stolen Gems’ show

by Kyle McGoey | 1/8/14 5:06pm

Despite its location on one of Dartmouth’s busiest corners, Rollins Chapel maintains a quiet presence: beautiful and stately, yet closed-off, like an animal curled up to hibernate for the winter. This Sunday, Rollins will come alive as the Sospiri Trio brings a vibrant program of chamber music classics, old and new, to the chapel.

The group will perform its “Stolen Gems” program as part of the Hopkins Center’s ChamberWorks project, which gives Dartmouth’s chamber music faculty the opportunity to perform on campus. Sospiri Trio features music professor Janet Polk on bassoon, with Margaret Herlehy of the University of New Hampshire on oboe and Arlene Kies on piano.

The trio’s instrumental composition is uncommon, with limited repertoires to suit the group.

“We love them all…[but] we’ve played them all,” Polk said.

The group has built its program around “stolen gems,” adapting famous composers’ works, written for larger string-based chamber groups, to suit its unique instrumental format.

“We decided that the string players shouldn’t have all the fun,” Polk said.

The main event in Sunday’s program is an adaptation of Beethoven’s “Trio XIII Opus 38,” originally written by Beethoven for a septet and later adapted for a trio of clarinet, cello and piano.

“It’s one of my favorite pieces,” Polk said. “It’s almost an hour long, but I don’t think people are going to think it’s an hour long when we do it.”

Sunday’s performance will also feature two shorter pieces, one by Christopher Kies, the husband of the group’s pianist, and one by Austrian composer Paul Angerer.

Kies said the trouble of adapting work for the group is worth the effort. The three women have performed together for 10 years.

“We just really enjoyed it so much that we couldn’t stop,” Kies said.

While the quality of the works should make the performance draw a crowd, the venue will also enhance the audience’s experience. Polk advised audience members to seek seats close to the front of Rollins Chapel, where the church’s echo has a sort of “sweet spot.”

“I love playing in Rollins Chapel,” she said. “It’s very reinforcing to your sound.”