'Bassoon Bash' Kicks off Indian Summer at Norfolk Music Festival

Even as Mother Nature is exchanging her shimmering summer finery for the golds, reds, and tans of her autumn wardrobe, Yale’s Norfolk Music Festival is preparing to launch its fourth annual “Indian Summer” series.

An extension of Norfolk’s award-winning summer music program, the Indian Summer series features informal performances during October and November in the historic Battell Recital Hall on the Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate. The 150-seat hall boasts inlaid wood paneled walls, a vaulted ceiling and dramatic lead-glass windows looking over the fall foliage of the northwestern Connecticut hills.

By bringing together performers and audience members in a relaxed and intimate setting and giving them a chance to mingle after the concerts, the Indian Summer series attempts to recreate the days when “musicales” were common entertainment in grand homes, say the organizers. The program is made possible, in part, by a grant from the Connecticut Commission on the Arts.

The series opens with a “Bassoon Bash,” an irreverent concert of music for bassoons, at 2 p.m. on Sunday, Oct. 6. In addition to works by Gershwin, Rossini and Paganini, the program will feature Rimsky-Korsakov’s “Flight of the Bumble Bee.” Leading the affair will be bassoon virtuoso Frank Morelli, a principal of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, the New York City Opera Orchestra, and the American Composers Orchestra.

A “Sunday of Songs” on Oct. 20 at 2 p.m. will feature performances by three award-winning young professionals who are alumni of Norfolk’s recent Vocalists-on-the-Rise seminar devoted to American song: mezzo-soprano Lynn Helding, tenor Carl Johengen and pianist J.J. Penna. The program will range from Renaissance works by Henry Purcell to classic pieces by Franz Schubert to Americana by Stephen Foster.

The Leontovych String Quartet, which has been called Ukraine’s finest chamber ensemble, will perform string quartets by Schubert, Shostakovich and Brahms in the series finale on Saturday, Nov. 9, at 8 p.m.

Individual tickets for the Indian Summer performances are $16; subscriptions for the three-concert series are $42. Norfolk residents and children under age 16 are charged half-price. For information, call the box office at 860/542-3000; major credit cards are accepted for phone orders.

The Ellen Battell Stoeckel Estate, home of the Norfolk Music Festival, is located at the intersection of Routes 44 and 272 in Norfolk. Concert-goers are invited to stroll the grounds of the 70-acre estate prior to the performances.

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Gila Reinstein: gila.reinstein@yale.edu, 203-432-1325