Monday, April 11, 2011

A Double Dose of Chamber Music

Yesterday, I got to enjoy two chamber music concerts. Being in an orchestra and a member of the Chamber Musicians of Northern California, I have met lots of fellow players--and they sometimes invite me to come hear them perform at local venues.

First, I drove to Alameda to the High Street Station to hear the Hillside Quintet, made up of five members of the Castro Valley Chamber Orchestra. They feature flute, clarinet, oboe, bassoon and horn. Their two sets mixed the popular sound of Mozart with the rousing refrains of John Philip Sousa's Liberty Bell March (the Monty Python theme), a surprisingly beautiful composition, the Andante by Muszynski from 1985, and other delightful pieces. They even played "Take Me Out to the Ballgame."

That's the Hillside Quintet in the photo above.

Then, I drove quickly East, to Pleasant Hill, where in the contemporary A-frame of St. Andrew's Presbyterian Church, four separate groupings of musicians (with a few folks playing in multiple ensembles) filled the building with great sounds. After Schubert's String Quintet in C Major (1828) came the biggest surprise of the concert--The Ballade, Pastorale and Dance by Eric Ewazen (born in 1954). In the unusual grouping of flute, horn and piano, it proved, as the Muszynski did, that modern classics can be a delight to the ear.

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