Sunday, December 14, 2008

"Classics by Candlelight" concert

Just the other night I went to a chamber music performance and already I've lost the program, but in a word: lovely.

This was the second in a series of 3 concerts put on by the Chamber Music Society of Central Virginia, two at the 1753 Wilton House and this one at Bon Air Presbyterian. Four musicians played, variously, trios from the span of 19th century.

The program was superbly planned by CMSCVA artistic director and cellist James Wilson-- the pieces increased in complexity of intent, each somehow leading to the next. So even though there were no really big musical ideas in any of them, the sum was more interesting than the total of the parts.

Of course, it helped that the performers were top-notch: besides Wilson, there was Mary Boodell on flute, Erin Keefe on violin, and Catherine Cho on viola/violin. Cho is an assertive viola player; a friend said to me afterwards, "If I were a young person attending this concert, she would make me want to play the viola." Boodell--maybe because she is a Richmonder, unlike the others--was especially good at communicating the music to the audience. There were a few moments when she seemed to be looking up as if to say, "Listen up--Here comes a good part!"

Here's what my memory, with help from Google, can reconstruct:

1. An "Allegro" movement of something by Schubert for violin, viola and cello: playfully charming.

2. Beethoven's Serenade for flute, violin and viola: charmingly playful.

3. Borodin's Trio in g-minor for 2 violins and cello: This was my first time hearing this piece. It's good music for early winter: not quite full of the anguish of the deepest, darkest St. Petersburg nights, but yet cut through with a beautiful chill, brought out by Cho on first violin.

4. A trio for violin, viola and cello by Carl Reinecke: This piece gave each voice more rhythmic independence than the others, and the melodic interplay was a little more complex. According to Wilson, it doesn't get played so often... but I don't know why not. For a trio, it's got substance.

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