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Valley of the Moon Fest brings Brahms banquet to Berkeley

Since it founding in 2014, Sonoma’s Valley of the Moon Music Festival has been the first and only U.S. organization devoted to presenting chamber works of the Classical and Romantic eras performed on period instruments.
Headed by cellist Tanya Tomkins and fortepianist Eric Zivian, it’s an unusual approach — one that East Bay music lovers can experience for themselves when the festival brings an all-Brahms program and a slate of special guests to Berkeley this weekend.
“Musicians from the Valley of the Moon Music Festival,” presented by the San Francisco Early Music Society, features Tomkins and Zivian with Boston-based contralto Emily Marvosh, hornist Sadie Glass, violinists Owen Dalby (of the St. Lawrence String Quartet) and Bettina Mussumeli and violist Jodi Levitz.
The program, titled “The Multifaceted Brahms,” includes the composer’s Horn Trio in E-flat Major and the Piano Quartet No. 1 in G minor. Marvosh, a frequent soloist with the Handel and Haydn Society, joins Levitz and Zivian in the beautiful “Two Songs” for Contralto, Viola and Piano. A work of love and longing, it was a special gift for violinist Joseph Joachim, who had recently married singer Amalie Weiss; Brahms composed it for the three friends to perform together.
Details: 7:30 March 16, St. John’s Presbyterian Church, Berkeley; $12-$45; 510-528-1725, www.sfems.org .

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