Review: Now For Something Completely Different!

By Jim Leonard

The concert began with pianist Craig Matterson; an 18 year old graduate of W.L.Seaton Secondary School. Craig offered his own version of Errol Garner’s “Misty.” It started in a meditative style and picked up the pace part way through. Matterson changed the harmony with chord substitutions and created excitement with virtuoso runs. Well done!

The second piece was Rachmaninoff’s “Prelude in C#minor,” which began very mysteriously and quietly; giving a new interpretation to the work. Apparently it represents the lowering of a casket-with a live person in it- into the grave. The restless middle part represents the panic of the person inside the casket. Matterson conveyed this very effectively through his playing. He has a bright future in front of him as a performer, composer and bandmate in his band “Daysormay.”.

Parker Crook gave a thorough introduction of the “collectif 9” (“neuf”-French for 9) in the Nov.17 issue of the Morning Star. As their name indicates, there are nine members in the group from Montreal. They are
all virtuoso string players (4 violins,2 violas,2 cellos and one bass)playing virtuoso parts generated by their bassist Thibault Bertin-Maghit. They were all amplified through the house system. I think they were all brave to do this as any flaw would be amplified. I didn’t hear any flaws all evening. Their ensemble was tight as was their execution of the myriad of notes they had to play.

The repertoire they played was from the classical and romantic eras as well as the avant garde. One piece had a member calling out phrases during the playing. Personally, I thought that one was too long; the idea had run it’s course and the phrases didn’t seem to have any logical order to them. More successful were the two Mahler pieces- “The Hunter’s Funeral Procession” and the “Farewell.” At times I thought I heard a french horn and a flute! Theplayers had done their sonority research and found a way to imitate these

The folk music genre was well represented by the “Taraf de Haidouks” by Turceasca; The “Romanian Concerto No.5” by Ligeti; and the “Romanian Folk Dances “ of Bartok.The violin soloists adopted the characteristic swooping between notes which gypsy violinists did in their playing.These pieces were full of energy as the soloists showed off their abilities.

The audience was given two encores; one in the style of a Quebec reel- to which the crowd added their enthusiastic clapping on the beat; and a slow reflective sonorous piece-the announced title’s weren’t audible to me; they didn’t use a mic. If one wanted something completely different- musically speaking, this was the concert to attend. There were unique arrangements played by a brilliantly talented string ensemble.

The next NOCCA concert is on Thursday January 18, 2018. It features the energetically talented “Cheng2 Duo” on cello and piano. Click here for more information.

Review By Jim Leonard For The Vernon Morning Star