Ensemble celebrates 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'

Taos Soundscapes puts three of its members centerstage this weekend

By Laura Bulkin
Posted 10/9/19

Three of Taos Soundscapes' world-class musicians take the stage this weekend, offering two concerts of music celebrating the theme of "Autumnal Bliss."On Saturday (Oct. 12), at 3 p.m., …

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Ensemble celebrates 'season of mists and mellow fruitfulness'

Taos Soundscapes puts three of its members centerstage this weekend


Three of Taos Soundscapes' world-class musicians take the stage this weekend, offering two concerts of music celebrating the theme of "Autumnal Bliss."

On Saturday (Oct. 12), at 3 p.m., the trio will perform in Questa at La Sala, 2331 State Road 522. Sunday (Oct. 13), at 4 p.m., the music moves south to the Ranchos de Taos home of Vickie Ford (directions provided with reservation).

Violinist Emily Aquin, pianist Jacquelyn Helin and cellist Rebecca Carón will perform works by composers Igor Stravinsky, Astor Piazzolla and Johannes Brahms.

Aquin, a graduate of Indiana University's Jacobs School of Music, has performed at music festivals around the world. Originally from Ontario, Canada, she is currently located in the Dallas-Fort Worth area, where she has played with the Dallas Symphony, the Dallas Opera and the Plano Symphony.

Helin has earned acclaim for her vibrant and musical playing of a wide-ranging repertoire. As winner of the Artists International Piano Competition, she made her New York debut in Carnegie Recital Hall, and her European debut in London's Wigmore Hall. She has performed throughout Europe and the United States, and was a featured artist in the PBS documentary "Virgil Thomson at 90."

Carón has been featured as a soloist performing concertos with the Albuquerque Philharmonic, Santa Fe Community Orchestra and Taos Community Orchestra. She currently performs with the San Juan Symphony and serves on the Taos Arts Advisory Council. She lives near Valle Escondido with her husband David Carón, a master instrument-maker who crafted both the cello she'll be playing at the concert and Aquin's violin.

"David's instruments stay in tune," said Carón, who is Soundscape's artistic director as well as cellist. "With Emily playing a violin my husband made, the violin and cello have a special blend as matched instruments. The sound is so focused and beautiful, with a huge dynamic range and a broad palette of colors. Audiences always seem to really respond to that."

Carón spoke about the "Autumnal Bliss" theme, and how it informed the selection of music for the concerts.

"All three of the pieces on the program reflect the 'autumn' season in the careers of their composers. It's a time of fruition and maturation, of finding their own voices. Stravinsky transformed older forms into 20th-century forms, surrendering them into his own sense of style. I saw this as very autumnal. Then Piazzolla's 'Otoño Porteño' (Buenos Aires Autumn) represents a time when he started exploring his own roots in Argentinian folk music and tango instead of running away from them. He was studying with the French composer and teacher Nadia Boulanger, and she encouraged him to embrace his heritage. He enriched the 'nuevo tango' with concert music elements, coming to this epiphanic maturity as a composer.

"The Brahms trio we'll be doing, Opus 87, was composed in the 1880s. This was a point in Brahms' career as a composer when he was really comfortable with himself. It's more compact than his earlier work, a very comprehensive, incredible work of music. So for all of these composers, these works were at a time when they were really embracing who they were. It all seems to fit for me with the words of poet John Keats' autumnal ode: 'Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness.'"

The two performance venues make the music accessible to a more diverse range of the Taos County community.

"We have never done a concert in Questa before," Carón said. "La Sala has a beautiful big room with windows, hardwood floors and a nice piano. We're happy to be helping celebrate their renovation, and honored that they're letting us christen their room with music.

"The other venue is Vickie Ford's home at the south end of town, near the golf course. Vickie was our Soundscapes president for many years, and I have great personal gratitude to her. She has stood by me in difficult times, and kept Soundscapes going. We love doing these intimate spaces. Music in homes is such an essential part of the history of chamber music. Vickie has a Steinway piano and there are lovely views, and interesting collections of Southwestern art and artifacts. It's a very relaxed, friendly home."

Carón was one of the founding members of Soundscapes, and talked about the origins of the group's name. "The poet Rilke spoke of music as an audible landscape. So many visual artists have come here to paint the landscape - we wanted to join ourselves to that artistic community as painters in sound."

"I'm so very excited for this concert," Carón continued. "Emily has been so supportive in playing second violin for other artists, and we've been wanting to feature her in a concert for the audience to hear what a beautiful human and violinist she is. People will really hear the sweetness and power. And Jacquelyn has been a huge part of Soundscapes. She challenges me to listen to new things, and to listen in new ways. We're very lucky to have her with us. Emily and I are working long-distance on our articulations and what we want to bring out of the music. I'm counting the days until I pick her up from Albuquerque airport, and then we'll connect with Jacquelyn in Santa Fe and get down to practice together."


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