Monday, January 24, 2011

A Fantastic Performance and an Intriguing Gift

We were in Red Deer this past weekend to attend a concert of the Red Deer Symphony Orchestra. This is the first year we've had season tickets, and we've enjoyed each concert greatly. Saturday was no exception.

The first half of the concert was exceedingly short. On the program were Bach's Orchestral Suite No. 3 in D major, of which the small chamber group played only the very familiar "Air" as in "Air on the G String." I was delighted to see the first violins begin that long, long first note on an upbow. This is how I treat that note, as it needs a slow crescendo throughout the whole 9 beats (counting in 8 to a measure). One of the enjoyments of watching this group is how unified they are in their bowing. I give credit for that to Naomi Delafield the concertmaster. One slight comment, however, a disappointment that the interpretation was so delicate. To my ears a very sonorous, passionate playing seems the way to go, but that is just a matter of personal preference.

The next piece was The Brandenburg Concert No. 2 in F Major, which has a "fiendishly difficult" trumpet part. The quotes are from the conductor, Claude LaPalme. The soloist was the Acting Principal Trumpet of the RDS, Richard Scholz. The performance was, sad to say, an embarrassment. Whether he was nervous and that interfered with his playing, or whether it was simply beyond him, I don't know. I really wondered why they didn't choose one of the other five Brandenburgs. I don't think #2 is the only one with trumpet soloist.

After intermission, which was lengthy as the stage crew tried to remedy of lack of light for the musicians to read their music, the second half of the program began, and it was a TOTAL DELIGHT!!! The music programmed was all four of Vivaldi's Four Seasons concerti, performed by a chamber group and featuring soloist Marc Destrubé. I have heard the Four Seasons in recordings countless times, but never heard it performed live. It's a difficult work: there are some incredibly dense, fast passages. Well, I have to say it was like hearing a totally new work.

Marc Destrubé is a marvellous violinist, and a very warm, personable stage presence, I would even have to say a delightful performer. He gave us some background on the writing of the concerti, and then before each movement of each concerto, read the small piece of "poetry" Vivaldi had written showing the inspiration of the music. Many were humorous, or were made so by Destrubé's reading.

I was totally enthralled with the whole performance, which was top notch. Special plaudits go to the cellist (Janet Kuschak, I believe) who had much to do throughout the concerti, and the harpsichordist, whose name I couldn't find on the program. The whole ensemble of three first violins, two second violins, two violas, two cellos, bass and harpsichord did a sterling job accompanying the soloist.

Maestro LaPalme is wonderful, but I was so intent on watching the soloist that I really can't comment on his part, except to say that the group was excellent, and he certainly has the credit for that.

Now to the gift: My dear friend M had been gone for 10 days visiting her sister in Chile. She often returns from a trip with a gift for me, and she's so good at finding things that I will love. This time she brought
me a large hank of yarn bought in a market in Chile. This lovely yarn is pure wool, straight off the sheep, spun as is with lanolin and a few twigs intact, undyed showing its natural colours. I'm thrilled!

I've begun winding it into balls and then I'll weigh it. The first inspiration is to use it to make a knitted woollen hat, complete with ear flaps and cords to tie under my chin. It would be a very warm hat, and would be just the right thing to take along on my upcoming trip to Torres del Paine National Park.

I have a waterproof, brimmed hat to
keep dry, but think I'll need a knitted hat in addition to keep warm. Since the trip is coming up the second half of March, I plan to get right at this project, and see what I can come up with.

Here's a closeup of the yarn. You can see it's fairly tightly spun and full of wonderful, chunky slubs. What I especially love about it is the fact that someone cared for sheep, sheared the wool, and someone there spun this yarn by hand. So before I even touch it, it has a rich history, partaking of the whole historical way of doing such things. For me, this is a significant factor. Completely opposite from the manufactured acrylic yarn I bought in Walmart on Saturday to knit another neckwarmer (since I didn't have enough knitting along to last the weekend.)

No comments:

Post a Comment