AUTUMN TONES is a chamber music ensemble of local musicians with Nicola Everton on clarinet, Sue Gold on piano and Martine denBok on violin and viola. All three musicians are associated with the Symphony of the Kootenays as either members of the orchestra or as visiting soloists. Nicola and Sue have performed many times in the area, along with cellist Jeff Faragher, in the classical chamber music ensemble THE SELKIRK TRIO. In both the Selkirk Trio and Autumn Tones the intent seems to be to explore the modern edge of classical music as well as excursions into the realms of the traditional classical repertoire, Jazz, Latin, Klezmer or anything else that strikes their fancy. On this beautiful fall afternoon in the lobby of the Key City Theatre that is the musical realms they set out to explore.

They kicked off the afternoon with Darius Milhaud’s Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano. For me it was a moment of unbelievable synchronicity. On the drive to the theater I had been listening to some Brazilian Choro on the car CD player (yes, some of us still listen to CDs). On this beautiful fall afternoon what could be more appropriate than bouncing down the highway to the warm rhythms of Brazilian Choro. From the opening bars of the Milhaud piece the choro music I had just been listening to immediately came to mind and I began mentally adding in the percussive sounds of the Brazilian Pandeiro to the trio on stage.The Pandeiro is a Brazilian tambourine that is the heart beat of  samba. That mental notion is completely understandable when you consider Darius Milhaud’s musical associations with Jazz and Brazilian music.  He was one of the most prolific modern classical composers of the last century and was influenced by the sounds of Jazz and Brazilian music. While it is not his only claim to fame he was a musical mentor to the Jazz musician Dave Brubeck. So much so that Brubeck named his son Darius after the composer. One of Milhaud’s former students was the popular songwriter  Burt Baccharach. Milhaud is reported to have told Bacharach, “Don’t be afraid of writing something people can remember and whistle. Don’t ever feel discomfited by a melody.”.  This Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano lived up to that standard with lots of melody, rhythm and musical interplay between the instruments.

Popularity in music usually means world tours and mega arena performances. Modern classical composers do not rate that sort of popularity or attention and yet, in the realm of classical music, Arvo Part is probably the most popular modern classical composer of the last few years. This Estonian composer of classical and religious music uses self invented compositional techniques in the minimalist style (think Phillip Glass with darker Eastern European overtones). For this afternoon’s performance the trio selected Part’s popular Spiegel im Spiegel written in 1978. “Spiegel im Spiegel” in German literally can mean both “mirror in the mirror” as well as “mirrors in the mirror”, referring to an infinity mirror which produces an infinity of images reflected by parallel plane mirrors: the tonic triads in the composition are endlessly repeated with small variations as if reflected back and forth. The piece was originally written for a single piano and violin. Other versions exist with cello or viola, double bass, clarinet, trombone, flute etc.  This performance is for piano, clarinet and violin and is in F major in 6/4 time.

Aram Il’yich Khachaturian (1903 – 1978) was a Soviet Armenian composer and conductor and is best known for his composition  the Sabre Dance. He was the most renowned Armenian composer of the 20th century and is considered one of Soviet Russia’s  leading composer. While following the established musical traditions of Russia, he broadly used Armenia and, to a lesser extent, Caucasian, Eastern & Central European, and Middle Eastern peoples’ folk music in his works.  His style is “characterized by colorful harmonies, captivating rhythms, virtuosity, improvisations, and sensuous melodies”. The trio performed movements 1 and 3 from his Trio for Clarinet, Violin and Piano.

In the vernacular the clarinet has been referred to as a liquorice stick. Maybe it is the colour of the instrument but I like to think it is because of the liquid smoothness of the music of Mozart when played on the clarinet. Autumn Tones pulled us away from the “edginess” of contemporary classical music into the smooth mainstream of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s Kegelstatt Trio, K498 in E flat Major for piano, clarinet and viola. No composer before Mozart had written for this combination of instruments. The origin of the nickname Kegelstatt is interesting. The German word Kegelstatt means “a place where skittles are played,” akin to a bowling alley. Mozart is reputed to have written this while playing skittles. At the time the clarinet was a relatively new instrument and in the first performance the then vituoso Anton Stadler played clarinet, Mozart the viola, and Franziska von Jacquin the piano. This trio composition, along with his Clarinet Quintet and Clarinet concerto helped increase the instrument’s popularity. The piece is in three movements: Andante /  Menuetto /  Rondeaux: Allegretto


For the final piece the trio took us back to the edge for a little slice of Yiddish Klezmer in the tune Moldavanke. This style of music is mostly associated with Eastern European Jewish traditions and is performed in a lively bouncing style with overtones of Jewish humor and melancholy. Nicola has fallen in love with the style and wants to put together a Klezmer band.


Autumn Tones would like to thank The Kootenay Cultural Alliance and sponsors that have made this tour possible.


A BONUS: By it’s very nature music is of the moment. As soon as the musical note leaps into the air it is in the process of dying and until the invention of sound recordings that was it. All we had left were memories.  The recording industry has changed all that and performances can become more permanent if they are recorded. Unfortunately not all performances make it “onto wax”. This concert by Autumn Tones is now but a pleasant memory. Perhaps some day Autumn Tones and The Selkirk Trio can be persuaded to record those musical gems that over recent years they have cast to the winds. To make up for that here is a bonus for you from YouTube –

Darius Milhaud: Suite op.157b for Clarinet, Violin and Piano – Cologne Chamber Soloists



YouTube Pick (#12) – The Brasil Duo

Certain musicians, or groups of musicians, often have “a lock” on a genre or a particular musical approach. For instance Blue grass and old timey musicians own banjo music. After all they virtually invented the instrument and the appropriate styles so it only stands to reason that they should “own” banjo music. Similarly, for a multitude of reasons that I could bore you to death with, “Classical Guitarists” have a lock on Guitar Duets, Trio and Quartets. “The Brazilian guitar duo João Luiz and Douglas Lora are one of the most exciting and recent chamber groups to emerge on the music scene. These two talented young guitarists combine energy and technique with a dazzling musicality………. the duo shows maturity, talent and perfect technique in their interpretations and executions of intricate Brazilian rhythms……. Their sonority is exceptional, robust and varied and their whole repertoire is played with verve and enthusiasm, with stylistic balance and sensitivity …….. Excepts from Wikipedia  –  Amen to all of that.

Classical music, and classical guitar may have a reputation for being stuffy, “uncool” and uninteresting. I think this piece, Bata Coxa, by the Brazilian composer Marco Pereira (born 1950) played by this very energetic duo should dispel some of those notions. CDs by the duo are expensive and hard to come by…… thank God for YouTube for giving me a chance to experience their music.




AFTERNOON TEA WITH THE SELKIRK TRIO, Studio 64, Kimberley BC, Sunday August 7, 2016

112. Selkirk TrioFor most people the idea of Classical Music usually means symphony orchestras, opulent concert halls, musicians in formal attire and patrons dressed to impress. It doesn’t necessarily follow that the symphony is the be all and and end all of classical music. The great virtuoso violinist Yehudi Menuhin, no stranger to large orchestras and concert halls, is reputed to have expressed the notion “that the true essence and application of music is to be found in chamber music”. If there is any doubt to that concept one has only to spend time with The Selkirk Trio. A couple of hours with Sue Gould (piano), Nicola Everton (clarinet) and Jeff Faragher  (Cello) and you should become a true believer in chamber music. Over the years I have attended at least three concerts of the trio and each time I am impressed with their program selection, their technical virtuosity and their musicality. The strength of the trio, and chamber music in general, is the lack of filters. There is no sound re-enforcement to get in the way and distort the true sound of the instruments. The musical arena for chamber concerts tends to be human scale with the audience and the musicians all within hand reach of each other. The nuances of musical dynamics and shading are right there in and around the audience. The trio kicked off the concert with the Cuban classical composer and jazz musician  Paquito D’Rivera’s Afro. Jeff doubled on Djembe  to provide some authentic 142. Clarinetatmosphere. This was followed by Ludwig Van Beethoven’s  Trio in B Flat Major, Opus 11, the second movement. My favorite item in the trio’s program is the 7 Balkan Dances  by the Croatian composer Marko Tajčević. Nicola obviously revels in these short but intricate pieces that bounce around the essentially odd rhythmic elements of Balkan music. I have tried to find a recording of these particular pieces but so far I have not been successful. I only think it fair to suggest that the trio needs to record them at some future date.

Sue and her coat of many colours

Sue and her coat of many colours

Pavel Karmanov is a Russian rock musician with musical credentials that go way beyond the limits of that style of music. Sue Gould selected his minimalist composition Birthday Present to Myself. The Minimalist School of classical composition is a recent innovation and is best exemplified by the music of Phillip Glass and Steve Reich. Minimalist  compositions usually consists of repetitive melodic motifs that need to be comprehended as part of the larger composition. A friend of mine declared that Steve Reich’s classic minimalist piece  Six Marimbas to be  some form of advanced Chinese water torture. Of course I beg to differ. It is one of my favorite pieces of music. I am looking forward to spending more time with the music of Pavel Karmanov.

Nicola kicked off the second half of the program with some Klezmer compositions by the Canadian composer Milton Barnes (1931-2001). The pieces were scored for clarinet and piano duo.

Nicola's Freilach dancing shoes

Nicola’s Freilach dancing shoes

In this day and age we all have toys. For Jeff it is the looping pedal. Jeff has just completed a solo CD recording project entitled Voices Within. One of the object of the exercise was to give Jeff the opportunity to experiment with a looping pedal. This is a device that is very common in pop music circles. It allows a performer to lay down  tracks of music in an orderly fashion to create a complete solo performance. In this case Jeff chose a number of cello pieces where he performs all the parts. To give some idea of how the process works Jeff gave a working demonstration by using the looping pedal to first lay down the melody of The Largo from Vivaldi’s Concerto in G Minor for Two Cellos, BV351. He then went back and, while the melody was playing, he added the bass part. He followed this up by finally adding the harmony part thus completing the piece. “Boys and Their Toys”……… Sue was not to out done. Her toy was a relatively simple device attached to the iPad containing her musical scores. With a tap on the foot pedal she is able to turn the pages, thus overcoming a major nuisance for pianist playing off the printed page. Nicola did her “party piece” with the Klezmer tunes, Jeff did his “party piece” with Vivaldi and the foot pedals. Sue’s “party piece” was a solo performance of Bela Bartok’s Romanian Dances for Solo Piano. The trio came together to perform Nino Roto’s  (of God Father film music fame) Trio for Clarinet, Cello and Piano. For the encore the trio  played an arrangement of The Ashokan Farewell from Ken Burn’s CBS Civil War Documentary. It was a hauntingly beautiful end to a great afternoon of music.

084a. Cello100. Jeff Faragher   126. Sue Gould

Happiness is a sun tan and a good clarinet reed

Happiness is a sun tan and a good clarinet reed

“Jeff, what are you doing down there?”

"I'm playing with my toys"

“I’m playing with my toys”

162. Jeff Faragher  164. Jeff Faragher

154. Sue Gould124. Sue and Nicola  135. Nicola Everton

The concert is over .... I can lay myself down and sleep

The concert is over …. I can now lay myself down and sleep


Amanda Weatherall at the Knox

Amanda Weatherall in recital at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook, May 30, 2015, 7pm. This is a benefit performance to raise funds for Amanda’s trip to Italy to study and perform at the Accademia Europea Dell’Opera (AEDO).

130. Amanda WeatherallI find it somewhat incredible that there is such a vibrant community of serious vocal musicians in Cranbrook. Evan Buekert’s music program at the Mount Baker High School may have something to do with it and undoubtedly Chuck Bisset and his choir are also part of the equation. But they are only two factors in a community that seems to have a multitude of singers and organizations involved in vocal music. When you consider the size of the community and the distance from major big centers the depth of the local vocal tradition is extraordinary. It is easy to understand why European educators and audiences have been awe struck when our local choirs tour Europe. A comment that was passed around was “….. and all this talent comes from one small community in the Rocky Mountains of Canada? Unbelievable”. Another aspect of the scene is the focus on Opera and foreign languages. How does one explain Amanda Weatherall’s convincing vocal renditions in German and Italian? Amanda is one of several local singers off to Tuscany in the very near future to participate in a vocal music program. To offset the cost of her adventure Amanda displayed her talents in a recital at the Knox Prebyterian Church last Saturday evening. As Amanda explains….

Amanda Program pg2-ed

Aided by Arne Sahlen on piano and fellow vocalist Mary Pickering, Amanda presented the following program…024. Program

Amanda’s and Mary’s  repeat performance of The Flower Duet from Delibes Lakme was outstanding. They switched it around from past performances by trading parts. In the past Amanda sang the Soprano and Mary sang the Mezzo part. This time Amanda sang the Mezzo part (“real woman sing Alto”) and Mary the Soprano part. Between the vocal performances Arne Sahlen played Chopin’s Prelude in Db Major Op.28 #15, “Raindrop”  and Brahms Intermezzo in A Major Op. 118 #2.

It was an evening of elegant ladies, classy piano music and serious vocal music in probably one of the finest Chamber Music spaces in the Kootenays – the Knox Presbyterian Church … great sights, great lights and a great sound. What more could one want? Here are some images from the evening….

106b. Amanda Weatherall  202a. Mary Pickering and Amanda Weatherall322. Arne Sahlen108. Amanda Weatherall  110. Amanda Weatherall  112. Amanda Weatherall346. Arne Sahlen204b. Mary Pickering and Amanda Weatherall  320. Arne Sahlen   114. Amanda Weatherall    210. Mary Pickering and Amanda Weatherall   132. Amanda Weatherall362a. Arne Sahlen344. Arne Sahlen   502. Cute  342a. Arne Sahlen116a. Amanda Weatherall

As I said, a night of elegant ladies and classy music.


Chamber Music at the Knox

Cellar Notes Cranbrook


108. Jeff and Alex

Press Release: The Cellar Notes Duo of Jeff Faragher, cello, and Alex Nichol, double bass will be presenting a musical offering spanning four centuries and six cultures on Saturday, May 16th at Knox Presbyterian Church starting at 7:30 pm. Admission by donation. Together, the cello and the double bass form the foundation upon which the symphony orchestra’s sound is built. Composers have long known that the brilliance of the cello reinforced with the dark, rich timbre of the bass, creates a potent synergy that is greater than the sum of its parts.
Jeff Faragher holds a Bachelor of Music from the University of Alberta and a Master 216. Jeff FaragherDegree in Music Performance from McGill University. In between academic years he pursued supplementary studies with such internationally renowned cellists as Janos Starker, Aldo Parisot and YoYo Ma. Jeff was born and raised in Edmonton where he began his musical studies at the age of three. Following his graduation from McGill University Jeff returned to Edmonton where he undertook studies leading to an MB.A., became the head cello instructor for the Edmonton Public School System, as well as serving as Head of the String Department at Grant McEwan College. Jeff is a prodigious talent with an innovative spirit. Rather than a career in a major orchestra, Jeff has chosen a life in the Kootenays where he is free to explore the full range of teaching, coaching, performing and conducting possibilities. These include the position of Music Director of The Symphony of the Kootenays.  Jeff and his family moved to the Nelson area from Edmonton in 2006. On a 3 acre mountainside property overlooking the West Arm of Kootenay Lake where he and his father built the family home, office and Overtone Studios, of which the 50 seat Cedar Hall is the centerpiece. When he is not performing, coaching, teaching and conducting music, Jeff joins his wife in home-schooling 4 of their 5 children and in enjoying outdoor sports, including coaching ski racing.

316. Alex Nichol
Alex Nichol pursued a meandering career path that passed through a Masters degree in European History before being diverted from academic ambitions into the life of a symphony orchestra musician. Over a period of twenty five years Nichol performed with 060a. the bassthe Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra, the Halle Orchestra of Manchester, England, and the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra. In the course of his stay in England , he purchased the fine, old Italian bass that has been his musical companion for 45 years. In the early ’80’s Nichol’s interest in wine and wine-making led to his writing the first book on the B.C. wine industry entitled Wine and Vines of British Columbia in 1983. Six years later, in 1989 he and his family moved to Naramata in the Okanagan, planted vines, made wine and opened for business as Nichol Vineyard Winery in 1993.With retirement in 2006, Nichol’s focus has returned to music-making. He is currently the Principal Bass of the Symphony of the Kootenays and performs as an extra musician with the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra.

040. The Program

Obviously the program, mostly transcriptions, focused on the bottom end of the sonic spectrum. After all, it is hard to go any further down into the musical basement  than the double bass. It is a program of miniatures mostly from the early classical repertoire. The only concessions to modernity were the five Magyar dances of Bela Bartok  and Serge Prokofieff’s Fairy Tales. True to the promise of cultural diversity and to spice things up they performed a couple of Tangos by F. Canaro and C.V.G Flores.

114. Jeff and Alex   218. Jeff Faragher302. Alex Nichol


Microsoft Word - LaCafCranbrook-May2015.docx

In my late teens my first encounter with Classical Chamber music was facilitated by  a Sunday afternoon TV show featuring a string quartet probably playing the music of  Beethoven. I was not impressed – I would have rather been down on the beach surfing and, after all, it didn’t sound like any thing I was used to used to at the the time.That was not the end of it of course. Over the years I became more familiar with many different musical styles and eventually developed a taste for Chamber music. In more recent years the La Cafamore Ensemble from Nelson has expanded my chamber music universe with their always innovative programs at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook. Over the past half dozen years the ensemble has taken to the stage in various configurations including String Quartet, Trios, Quintets and at times augmented with pre-recorded tape tracks, sound effects and percussion. We have been treated to some extraordinary music, including George Crumb’s Black Angels and Steve Reich’s Different Trains. This was  in addition to the more standard items in the classical repertoire. This most recent performance had Carolyn Cameron on piano, Angela Snyder on violin and Alexis Moore on viola. The program featured compositions by female composers from the early to the late Romantic era. As usual for a La Cafamore concert there was some unknown musical gems. The English composer Rebecca Clarke (1886-1979) composition Dumka written in 1941 included elements of mid-twentieth century music and European folk styles. Amy Cheney Beach (1867-1946), an American musician by birth and by style wrote Trio Op.11 in a late Romantic style with very distinctive and unmistakable American elements. The last composition of the evening was by the better known Fanny Mendelssohn Hensel (1805-1847). It was the four part Trio Op.11.

Here are some images from the concert:

533a. La Cafamore200. Angela and Carolyn   302. Angela Snyder     232. Carolyn Cameron    410a. Alexis More 314b. Angela Snyder_edited-1416b. Alexis More_edited-1                  100. Dumka   234c. Carolyn Cameron_edited-1424d. Alexis More212a. Carolyn Cameron080. Embroidery


Here is a special YouTube treat of a student performance of Rebecca Clarke’s Dumka

and for your listening pleasure – Amy Beach: Variations on Balkan Themes, op. 60 (Virginia Eskin, pianist).


Octagon at the Royal Alexandra Hall

Octagon poster

When I go to a jazz performance the thought that always crosses my mind is “How do they do that?”. Apart from their instruments the only thing they seem to have on hand is maybe a memorized melody and a lead sheet with some indication of the chord progression. When I go to a chamber music concert a different thought crosses my mind  … “I know how they do it but how do they do it with such control and ellegant precision?”. Of course they have the composer’s score with lots of detail about the notes to be played, when to played and even symbols on how to be played. Of course there is more to it than that.  Still, somewhat like my response to a jazz performance a chamber music performance  leaves me with a sense of awe. It’s some form of magic and the musicians are the magicians.


The magic was very much in evidence at  Octagon’s performance at the Royal Alexandra Hall on Wednesday night. The musicians were the magicians and the hall added an element that would be difficult to find in another venue. It was perfect match. A world class chamber music ensemble, the music of Ludwig van Beethoven (Septet, Opus 20), the music of Franz Schubert (Octet, Opus 166) and a performance venue that probably had a lot in common with the original venues in Austria when the music was composed in the early 1800’s. From pin drop soft to boisterous bellowing every nuance of the music was there to be savored. My only complaints, and they are very, very minor are that the lighting in the hall is very poor, rather gloomy, one would say and a slightly raised performance area would have improved the sight lines. Because of the nature of the music and the available light it was not appropriate to take photos during the performance. However, during the sound check and the brief rehearsal I managed to document some of the action.

 Mark Fewer and Rivka Golani      Rachel Mercer and Joe Phillips Mark Fewer  Keith, Kathleen and James     Kenneth MacDonald Joe Phillips    Rachel Mercer     Joe Phillips Martin Beaver, Mark Fewer and Rivka Golani   James Campbell

The members of OCTAGON are:

  • Mark Fewer – Violin
  • Martin Beaver – Violin
  • James Campbell – clarinet
  • Joseph Phillips – Bass
  • Rivka Golani – Viola
  • Kenneth MacDonald – French Horn
  • Kathleen McLean – Bassoon
  • Rachel Mercer – Cello

 Mark Fewer


Here is a little YouTube video treat of a performance of two movements of the Beethoven Septet by The New Israel ensemble. It is not OCTAGON but we can’t have everything.


Going for “Baroque” at Centre 64

Centre 64 poster

Somewhere  along the line this music got tagged with the label “Scottish Baroque”. Of course Baroque music it isn’t but the label is a convenient way to distinguish it from the usual run-of-the-mill Celtic pub music. Mind you, it would not be out of place in some low-ceiling inn in the old country. In the ambience of the dance studio in Centre 64 it was right at home. The musicians are from all over the map. Radio broadcaster Bruce 100. Bruce MacGregorMacGregor is from Inverness Scotland and is reputed to be one of Scotland’s finest fiddle players. After hearing him it is not a reputation I would care to dispute. I have added his name to my list of favorite fiddlers that includes the Irish fiddler Martin Hayes and the Irish American Liz Carrol. With them he shares a clean, clear, solid, almost classical tone, a great sense of musical dynamics and a wonderful choice of tunes. Christine Hanson is originally from Edmonton, Alberta but has been resident in Glasgow for the past 15 years. Her prairie roots come though from time to time in her choice of country waltzes. Christine’s instrument of choice at the moment is a handcrafted Carbon Fibre Cello. This came about when an airline company carelessly “dropped kicked” and nearly destroyed her traditional wooden instrument during one of her tours. The Carbon Fibre instrument she is using was probably built by Luis and Clark in Boston – check the link  Luis and Clark Carbon Fibre instruments . There are other manufacturers out there. The German company Mezzo Forte comes to mind but Christine’s instrument has the look of a Luis and Clark. Conservative musicians and patrons may shudder at the concept of a “plastic” instrument but I guess the proof is in “the pudding”. The instruments look and sound wonderful and I suspect as the supply of Andy Hillhouseendangered tone woods become scarce we will see more of them. Beside looking and sounding good Carbon Fibre instruments are more robust than their traditional wooden counter part. For travelling musicians this is a definite plus.The vocalist/guitarist Andy Hillhouse is from Vancouver where he is the manager of the music festival at Harrison Hot Springs. His instrument is a Lowden Guitar from Belfast Ireland. Hand made Lowdens are the instrument of choice of a number of top performers and are pretty rare in North America. Andy only managed to get together with the other musicians for the first time at 4:30 that same afternoon. With that in mind his performance was pretty astounding.

The Fiddle / Cello / Guitar combination turned out to be a wonderful vehicle for their selections of  Strathspeys, Airs, Laments, Reels and Waltzes. The guitar provided the rhythm foundation, the cello the bass lines, rhythm and counterpoint to Bruce MacGregor’s fiddle that was over the top of it all. My personal favorites of the evening was the traditional Her Mantle so Green, a tune that Christine picked up in a wee back bar in Ullapool Scotland from the playing of Cathal MacConnell of Boys of the Loch fame. Andy Hillhouse chose some traditional songs to sing and play but the standout was the great narrative song Beeswing by Richard Thompson. This is a song that defines what a great song should be – good melody, a great, great story line and very appropriate accompaniment. From the many, many tunes that Bruce played though out the evening the standout for me was the final set of the evening that included Miss Lyalls Strathspey and The Kings Reel. I have been thoroughly indoctrinated into these tunes by young local fiddle player Angus MacDonald. It is a pity that Angus has gone away to college. He would have enjoyed Bruce’s performance. Besides the wonderful selection of tunes Bruce came to fore with his story telling. His “real job” as a radio broadcaster obviously comes in handy when he launches into tales of J. Scott Skinner. For those that do not know J.Scott Skinner (1843-1927) was the preeminent Scottish Fiddler of the late nineteenth century.  The other story of note was the one about his father’s revenge on a local firm of lawyers. Here are some images from the evening. Sorry about the less than satisfactory quality – the lighting was awful. To get rid of the horrible green tint I had to Photoshop the images down to greytones

Bruce MacGregor     Bruce MacGregor     The Fiddle      The CelloAndy Hillhouse    e MacGregor    Andy HillhouseThis was a wonderfully unique evening of music. The “cabaret” setting was great, the ambience and the audience were perfect. The evening was only marred by the less than perfect lighting.


Slavic Strings at the Knox

Microsoft Word - DocumentLaCafamoreSpring2014.docx

Every spring and fall violinist Angela Snyder travels from her home base in Virginia to “play second fiddle” in the various configuration of the chamber ensemble La Cafamore.  At this time of year, in one form or other (Trio, Quartet, or Quintet), La Cafamore tours the Kootenays for a series of Chamber music concerts. Over the years they have presented programs that have included some of the best of the Baroque, Romantic and Modern repertoires. The ensemble is not adverse to taking risks with their programming. There are not many ensembles that would dare to tackle Steve Reich’s Different Trains and George Crumb’s Black Angels. Local patrons have been lucky enough to hear La Cafamore present these startlingly modern compositions at the Knox Presbyterian Church in Cranbrook. For this tour the “modern meat” in the sandwich was Serenade Op.12 by Zoltan Kodaly. This composer is a contemporary and fellow national of the Hungarian composer Bela Bartok. Both composers drew heavily on the folkloric heritage of their native country. While acknowledging the composers folkloric inspirations there is no mistaking the modernity of their compositions. Serenade is no exception. Kodaly’s composition may have been the meat in the sandwich but there was plenty of other “garnishes” on the menu. The program opened with Lionel Bart’s (1930-1999) Where is Love from the musical Oliver. From there it was a huge leap back in time to the Inventions #13, #14, and  #15 by Johann Sebastian Bach.The other “BIG B” in classical music (Ludwig von Beethoven) was represented by a series of 12 German Dances. The final hefty piece on the program was Antonin Dvorak’s Terzetto Op.74 (Introduction / Larghetto / Scherzo and Theme and Variations. Unfortunately La Cafamore’s concert clashed with the larger SoWeCa Chamber Music festival that was running concurrently at the Key City Theatre. Despite the small audience in this wonderful performance space La Cafamore did not let us down. The next tour of LaCafamore will be in the fall and every effort will be made to avoid any programming clashes in the future. As always I will be looking forward to whatever is pulled out of the Chamber Music hat.