String Extravaganza – Couples Reply

Review by Judith Caldwell
On Sunday afternoon at 1st Unitarian Church in Hamilton we were treated to six very accomplished string players introducing us to some  new music and a lovely older work by Brahms.The concert began with Caitlin Boyle, viola and Rachel Desoer, cello, playing a Duo by Walter Piston, a twentieth century American composer who taught at Harvard.  This work is in three movements ending with a lively playful Molto vivace. Our next Duo were Yehonatan Berick, violin and Rachel Mercer, cello who playedTwo Choros bis (1928) by Heitor Villa-Lobos. These represented a new form of musical composition, synthesizing different types of Brazilian, Indian and popular music’ according to the composer when he first showcased the pieces.

The elements of his famous  Bachianas Brazileiras were there in some of the long sliding chords and insistent rhythms.The third piece of Twentieth Century music was Three Madrigals by Bohuslav Martinu played by the husband and wife team of Koczo Csaba, violin and Theresa Rudolph, viola.  Martinu was a Czech composer who fled the Nazis and later the Communists first for France and later for the United States.  Even though he was welcomed in musical circles his heart remained  in Czechoslovakia.

The Three Madrigals moved from the lively cheerful Poco allegro to the dreamy, feathery Poco andante and finally to an Allegro which was stately and complicated.After Intermission the afternoon wrapped up with a stunning Sextet No 1 in B flat major by Johannes Brahms.  The opening phrases captivated the almost sold out audience and showed why Brahms is considered one of the great composers.  The work was masterful, elegant and evocative and the audience remained entranced until the closing note.  This was a great work beautifully played by master musicians.

The next concert in this series is on Saturday, April 7th at 7.30pm at First Unitarian Church,  170 Dundurn St. S, Hamilton.  It is entitled Composer’s Love Lives and features Akemi Mercer, Violin and Dirk Niewoehner, viola.

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