Sounds and Sweet Airs Nearby

Violin recitals are a common occurrence in the concert world, but when was the last time you went to hear a viola soloist? The sounds of this indispensable member of the string family often escape our conscious attention, sandwiched as they usually are between the violins and the cellos in orchestras and string quartets. We are predisposed to focus on extremes — the highs and lows of music-making. But the stalwart viola, pitched an octave above the cello, emits, in the right hands, a rich, lustrous tone. Although viola jokes abound among musicians (one Web site lists 70, with only 14 for the violin), violist William Primrose called the instrument, “a violin with a college education.� So there.

   Thus it is a pleasure to report that Luke Fleming, an up-and-coming star of “the big fiddle,â€� will be at the Norfolk Library on Sat. Nov. 7 at 7:30 p.m., accompanied by pianist Linda Bell, a Norfolk resident. Fleming’s Alice Tully Hall debut was sold out, and this summer he was invited to perform at that sine qua non of chamber music venues, the Marlboro Festival. He has a growing list of impressive reviews from concerts here and abroad, and will be joining the hip, young Attaca Quartet for concerts in New York this fall. The program will include music by Bach, Fauré, Wienawski, and a movement from the haunting, Shostakovich sonata (his final opus) with nods to Beethoven. Free admission, reservations requested. 860 542-5075.

   Tucked between Litchfield and Warren is the tiny hamlet of Milton, where on Saturday, Nov. 7 from 10-4, its Public Hall, one of the little treasures of our area, will be filled with the uniquely American sounds of Shape Note singing, a type of unaccompanied 4-part harmony that dates from the Revolution. Singers sit in an open square facing each other and sing old hymns for the sheer joy of the raw, gutsy sound. Think “O Brother, Where Art Thou.â€� No experience is necessary to take part in this free event. Listeners are more than welcome. 538 Milton Road, Litchfield. 860-868-0086.


   Correction: An editorial error, last week, mistakenly announced a concert by the American Symphony Orchestra on Nov. 14. It should have read Albany Symphony Orchestra.

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