It was a treat to take in a recital at the beautifully renovated auditorium of Penticton Shatford Centre last Tuesday.
The high ceiling and the hardwood floor facilitated excellent acoustics and the luxurious curtains absorbed any excess of reverberation. The concert was presented by the faculty of “Strings the Thing,” an annual workshop for violin and cello players from near and far.
Penticton’s own violinist and violist Elizabeth Lupton joined forces with John Suderman, Calvin Dyck, Joel Stobbe, and Pascal Piche in the string ensemble. Okanagan Symphony conductor Rosemary Thomson, who also taught at the workshop, accompanied on piano and harpsichord.
The program started on a humorous note with Mozart’s violin duet The Mirror. One player read the music lines from left to right, the other from right to left. It still resulted in perfectly harmonious music. This was followed by a violin and cello duet, a Handel Passacaglia arranged by Halvorsen. A recurring bass theme supported fluid passages that contained a multitude of bowing and plucking techniques.
In Biago Marini’s Echo Sonata, a string quartet with harpsichord, two violinists played from the back of the hall.
The quadraphonic effect was fascinating for adults and children alike. Beethoven’s precious Harp Quartet had many pizzicato passages and warm soothing sounds. The slow movement of Czechoslovakian composer Dvorak’s American Quartet contained soul-searching lyrical melodies of the composer’s homeland.
Refreshed with iced tea and cookies at the intermission, the audience was ready to take in more music. Calvin Dyck surprised with a witty solo piece for accordion titled Nine Blind Mice.
Local composer Jeremy Hiebert wrote the following two compositions, Shatford String Quartet and Orchard String Quartet, which had agreeable harmonics and sweeping melodic lines. Debussy’s delicate Claire de Lune had a shimmering quality. Then Joel Stobbe performed Bach’s Prelude from Suite No. 2 in D minor for solo cello.
The evening ended with two up-beat ragtime selections, Leroy Anderson’s Fiddle Faddle and Scott Joplin’s Maple Leaf Rag.
The recital by the competent faculty members showcased a great variety of musical styles to motivate workshop participants and entertain the community at large.
Roswitha Masson is a Okanagan musician and symphony enthusiast.