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Passion piece

The Buffalo Chamber Players are back in session again, with a terrific concert scheduled for Wednesday. This is an adventurous confederation of musicians led by Buffalo Philharmonic Orchestra violist Janz Castelo. It includes more than a dozen of Castelo's BPO colleagues, as well as other bright local talents.

The centerpiece of the concert is a performance of "A Rose Beside the Water," by Buffalo composer Roland Martin. Commissioned by Buffalo painter Catherine Parker, the song cycle is based on the passionate poems of Pablo Neruda. Parker conceived paintings to go with the same poems Martin chose, and her paintings will be projected while the songs are sung.

Cristen Gregory and Jeffrey Porter are the vocal soloists for the Martin cycle, which is scored for soprano, tenor, piano and viola and has a lush romanticism.

A kind of celebration of chamber music in all its permutations, the evening begins with a set of Bach preludes and fugues arranged by Mozart for violin, viola and cello. And it ends with Dvorak's String Quintet in G, Op. 77. In between, the audience will savor "Praise to the Eternity of Jesus" by the mystic Catholic composer Olivier Messiaen. Written for cello and piano, this is the fifth movement of the famous "Quartet for the End of Time," which Messiaen wrote in 1940 while interred in a German prisoner-of-war camp. It was performed for the first time for an audience of prisoners and guards, and it still stands as a hymn to faith and hope.

The concert begins at 7 p.m. Wednesday in the Buffalo Seminary. Admission is $15. For more information, call 462-5659.

-- Mary Kunz Goldman

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