Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Winds for Lunch, Scotch and Strings For Dinner

Wednesday, January 28th will be a day devoted to the lighter side of chamber music. The Principal Woodwind Quintet will present a lunchtime concert at the Square Room, 4 Market Square at 12 noon. You will then have 4-½ hours to resume heavier pursuits until the Principal String Quartet begins the Scotch and Strings show at Boyd's Jig & Reel in the Old City at 5:30.

The repertoire for the WWQ's Q-Series show is rooted in drama and comedy, with music by Christopher Ball, Gyorgy Ligeti and Greg Danner. The Quintet is Aaron Apaza, bassoon; Jeffery Whaley, horn; Gary Sperl, clarinet; Nick Johnson, flute and Claire Chenette, oboe. People I have known all my life, even though I met some of them only a few months ago. The Ball opus is a five-movement work entitled Scenes from a Comedy, and if I say that one of the movements is called Hilda Broods and Hatches a Plot, you will understand where the composer is coming from. To call Mr. Ball merely a composer is to under-qualify him, since he is actually also an award-winning conductor, recorder soloist and photographer (he won the Zenith Photographer of the Year prize in 1971 for a photo that was apparently even better than the one below). Gyorgy Ligeti's Six Bagatelles are a departure from his more avant-garde norm, bubbly and cartoon-like as they mostly are. (A bagatelle is a light-hearted piece, or in non-musical applications, a trifle). The show will close with Tennessee Tech theory professor Greg Danner's suite of five character sketches, Vaudeville! One of the movements therein is entitled That Was No Lady... Just sayin'. Tickets for this Cafe 4-catered event are $15 in advance, (like TODAY) or $20 at the door, if available at all.

Last year's inaugural Scotch & Strings featured bracing cold and perilous sidewalks, but those did not deter a great crowd from coming out to one of Knoxville's most revered performance spaces for Laphroaig, Dewar's, Villa-Lobos and Schubert. It's a bit warmer this year, in fact the sun may still be shining when I show up. Violinsts Gordon Tsai and Edward Pulgar, violist Katy Gawne and I will bring about some music to keep warm by, whatever the weather. We'll be previewing some upcoming concerts, first with a bit of Mendelssohn- a sparkling work which really ought to have a more honorable identity than just “op. 44, #1.” This is perhaps the only time you will be able to enjoy scotch and champagne simultaneously. We'll be playing the work in its entirety on the March 25th Q Series at the Square Room, but we thought we'd “run it up the flagpole and see who salutes” at the J&R. Another preview arrangement we'll play will find us waxing rhapsodic; that's all I'm gonna say about that one... There will also be Efrain Amaya's Angelica, and a brief reminiscence of last week's Tchaikovsky symphony. Tickets for the event are $35 in advance, $40 at the door.

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