Shrewsbury Musicians Bring Schubert To Worcester

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The Cove Chamber Players, from left, violist Angel Hernandez, conductor/pianist Malcolm Halliday, violinist Leah Zelnick, cellist Caroline Reiner-Williams and bassist James Brehany. Photo Credit: John Swinconeck

SHREWSBURY, Mass. — Malcolm Halliday is trying to bring some romantic-era music back to central Massachusetts. The minister of music at Shrewsbury's First Congregational Church is presenting "A Worcester Schubertiad," a concert of songs and chamber music by composer Franz Schubert, on Sept. 29 at Tuckerman Hall in Worcester.

Halliday, former resident pianist for the American Schubert Institute in Boston, said the event would serve as a "trial balloon" to see if there is interest in the institute's resurgence. Among musicians performing are the Cove Chamber Players: violist Angel Hernandez, cellist Caroline Reiner-Williams, bassist James Brehany and violinist Leah Zelnick. Zelnick teaches violin and piano at the Shrewsbury First Congregational Church through the Pakachoag School.

"I started playing violin when I was 3 years old," she said. "It is something I really loved my whole life."

Zelnick said Schubert's "Trout Quintet" is difficult because it requires a lot of stamina. "It keeps going, and you have to be clear and alert. Stamina-wise, it's very difficult," she said.

"I think any classical musician worth their salt has played some Schubert," Zelnick said. "He had a huge volume of work, and I think the 'Trout Quintet' is something I haven't studied before."

Schubert died at 31 but nonetheless was a prolific composer. "One wonders what would have happened had he lived longer," Halliday said.

Schubert's music, at least, will live on, as long as people wish to hear it.

"I think concerts like this are really important for our community," Zelnick said. "I want people to know they can enjoy classical music without apprehension. Classical music is about enjoying what you're hearing."

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