On Friday evening February 5, Tim Ericksen, best classified as a folksinger, appeared at the Redstone Recital Hall under the auspices of The Lane Series. The evening moved to folk song repertoire creating a different evening of folk music to hear Eriksen's open-sounding, almost vibratoless voice sing ballads, often unaccompanied.
He also plays a number of stringed instruments -- guitars and banjos primarily, no matter where they were built or made. He has an easy manner about him on the stage, whether singing or talking about his life as a professional musician. He noted that it was important to him to spend part of the pre-concert lecture -- indeed, the larger part -- in talking about shape note singing, and closing his pre-concert talk with a four-part hymn from Southern Harmony. It has been for the last hundred plus years the Bible of the early American hymnology, and the excellence of the sound, especially when the figures face one another in a four-sided square. A person could get quite a buzz on -- a holy one, of course -- and be carried away into the heavens on the wings of the songs.
There is not a great deal more to be said, since Eriksen is rather an uncomplicated performer, and the only surprises, if there were any at all, had to do with his several times exhibiting a wide think of as Tuva Throat-singing, where one person, through the use of overtones, can produce deadly triad of sound.
One last comment: he was extremely generous with the time devoted to performing, which was nice, even though it meant that a few people that Friday before the concert was over.
The Vermont Youth Orchestra Association has appointed a new music director to follow where Troy Peters had cleared a great deal of rash out of the musical trail. The gentleman's name is Ronald Braunstein, a New Yorker who has most recently served as music director of the Mannes Philharmonia at the Mannes School of Music. Earlier in his career, he served as the music director of the Juilliard School of Music pre-college orchestra for seven years.
It will be a pleasure to watch the future development of the orchestra and the Association, which had developed so surely with the help of the board and management staff of this fine organization for young people.
If you're not aware of it, on Friday night, February 12, The Flynn Center for the Arts will play host to the Public Radio program, "From the Top", which will feature the VYO and some of its members. The show will be taped for later use by Public Radio International. Tickets are on sale to the Flynn box office at 86 Flynn.
Saturday, February 5, add to 1 PM,I attended the Metropolitan Opera in HD broadcast with a full house of opera fans. The fans arrived early because they know about the practices of some opera aficionados to hold seats for people who are not yet in the house or who can't come until the last minute. Some of the hard-liners in this camp used to come with four or five or six extra coats or sweaters so that they could hold seats for the late arrivers collecting easy. But no more! The management has posted clearly and highly visibly what may I may not be done in terms of saving seats for absent brethren.
The opera presented was the seldom-performed Simon Bocanegra which in this case starred Placido Domingo, tenor, in his first baritone role, that of Simon himself. He proved extremely effective vocally and histrionically. His death scene was extremely affecting. There was a great supporting cast too numerous to mention here, but with James Levine in the pit and such an incredible cast with which to deal, nothing was amiss, to the last jot and tittle of the score.
There are two broadcasts left: Ambroise Thomas's Hamlet and Rossini's Arnida, the latter featuring Ren Fleming.
Burlington resident Dan Wolfe observes and critiques the local arts scene for The Eagle. His column appears weekly.