Program 2 of the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival – “The Archduke” – featured two trios, the romantic Spanish-flavored Trio of Joaquin Turina, and the weighty gravitas of Beethoven’s mighty Archduke Trio. With the presence of the Gryphon trio, Artistic Director Aloysia Friedmann had the choice of who should play what… and wisely chose first to invite Chee-Yun, Desmond Hoebig and I to play the Turina, a work where last-minute rehearsals, a sense of urgency, and a willingness to indulge each other’s spontaneity complemented the music exactly as it was written.
On the other hand, it was wonderful to have the Gryphon Trio (Jamie Parker, Annalee Patipatanakoon and Roman Borys) play the Archduke, with their wealth of performing and recording history with this massive work. Sometimes it’s a great idea to call in the professionals…! It was rather a surprising tribute to their performance that many audience members wished that the 45-minute work had lasted longer.
Baritone Philip Cutlip played multiple characters in Carl Loewe’s Ballade “Archibald Douglas”, taking us back to an era of vocal storytelling and musical accompaniment that struck me as a precursor for silent film music! Cutlip took his listeners on a tale of reconciliation in the Scottish Highlands. His diction is astounding, but most of all, he drew his listeners in to his world.
He followed with Barber’s Dover Beach, which brought chills to me sitting backstage and listening during rehearsal. Philip has a sensational voice, and the kind of artistry that allows him to alternate between an operatic character and a lieder advocate, a story teller, and a poet.
Desmond Hoebig and I opened the program with the Debussy Cello Sonata, a work that strikes most listeners as modern rather than impressionist. Des and I are both Professors at the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and performed the Debussy there last year; it was wonderful to revisit this quirky and exquisite work.
Earlier in the week, we presented our Annual Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival Children’s Concert, and treated them to everything from composer Dan Sedgwick’s creative music to Goodnight Moon to a few selections from Dichterliebe. Rachel Buchman kept a room full of young ones very engaged!