Despite some setbacks that necessitated almost the total revamping of the program scheduled, the Craftsbury Chamber Players presented a substantial and well disciplined program for their Concert IV at UVM's Redstone Recital Hall last Wednesday evening, August 5. Since one of the performers -- the harpist -- was hospitalized in Switzerland, where his recovery is assured, the works he was to play in required the most rearranging.
J.S. Bach's Trio Sonata in G. Major BWV 1039 was performed by Emanuel Davis, flute; Katherine Winterstein., violin; Frances Rowell, cello; and Monica Ohuchi, piano. It was a performance that emphasized the dance character of the movements and which reflected the charm that Bach so freely distributed throughout his corpus. The performance was attentive to all the nuances of the music, and pleased the audience mightily.
Davis then proceeded to play two classic works for solo flute: Debussy's Syrinx and Arthur Honegger's Danse de la Chevre. He played works with a rather voluptuous, unforced sound that delighted the members of the audience, who surprised Davis by calling him several times back to the stage.
Mary Anthony Cox and Marcantonio Barone, piano, closed the first half of the program with a performance of Debussy's Petite Suite for Piano 4 Hands. The two performers realized the composer's intent perfectly, giving us portraits of being in a rowboat on the water, or watching a procession or listening to an antique minuet or watching a ballet. There were a few hesitations on the part of the players, but they were of no significance in the overall picture of the presentation of the music.
The program concluded after intermission with a performance of the Brahms Quartet in C. Minor Opus 51, no. 1 For Two Violins, Viola and cello. Frances Rowell was once again on cello. The rest of the quartet were Mary Rowell, violin; Winterstein on violin; and Kenji Bunch, viola. Since this piece was also a substitution, and since I am unaware what kind of rehearsal time was available to the group, like the audience members, I am more than willing to overlook some shakiness in the players that resulted in some slight pitch wanderings. It was a warm, burnished Brahmsian sound in general, and the music benefited especially from the work by Frances Rowell. The audience members were very delighted with the performance, and they signaled this by calling the performers back to the stage three or four times.
I have not heard a performance by the Craftsbury Chamber Players for several years, but their performances are still marked by interesting choices of repertoire in generally finely etched attention to detail. There are two concerts left, both the which can be heard on Wednesday evening at UVM's Redstone Recital Hall at 8 p.m. or in Hardwick on Thursday at 8 p.m. It's worth a trip to either venue.
Burlington resident Dan Wolfe observes and critiques the local arts scene for The Eagle. His column appears weekly.