Music

Plucking the strings of greatness

First Friday classical concert presents a program of great cello music

By Ariana Kramer
tempo@taosnews.com
Posted 10/30/19

Another Taos tradition is hatching! Nearly 100 people showed up in October for the first of a new First Friday classical concert series started by Claire Detels and Mark Jackson. The one-hour concerts take place once a month, at noon on the first Friday of the month at the First Presbyterian Church of Taos, 215 Paseo del Pueblo Norte.

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Music

Plucking the strings of greatness

First Friday classical concert presents a program of great cello music

Posted

Another Taos tradition is hatching! Nearly 100 people showed up in October for the first of a new First Friday classical concert series started by Claire Detels and Mark Jackson. The one-hour concerts take place once a month, at noon on the first Friday of the month at the First Presbyterian Church of Taos, 215 Paseo del Pueblo Norte. Everyone is encouraged to attend these free concerts; donations are appreciated. Bring a brown bag lunch and enjoy a musical interlude for your lunch hour.

This Friday (Nov. 1), the series presents a program of "Great Cello Music" performed by cellist Rebecca Carón and pianist Claire Detels. The program, which was crafted by Detels, begins with Frank Bridge's "Meditation" and Sergei Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise." It continues with a Brahms' Sonata "Sandwich" - two movements of Brahms' Sonata in E Minor sandwiched around the second movement of Leokadiya Kashperova's Sonata in E Major. Finishing the program are two avian-inspired pieces, "The Swan" from Camille Saint-Saëns "Carnival of the Animals" and Pablo Casals' "Song of the Birds."

"With our first breath of winter, all of this music will warm people from the heart outward, and give them a nice musical hug," said Carón.

Speaking about the classical repertoire for cello and piano, Carón told me that there are many pieces of music written for a single instrument with piano. The reason, she said, is that the piano is able to take on the part of the orchestra, with its impressive dynamics, sounds and layering of voices. Carón said the she loves playing with piano because it has the fullness of an orchestra with the intimacy of chamber music.

Carón is the director of Taos Soundscapes, a nonprofit organization dedicated to "bringing inspiring musical performances to the communities of Northern New Mexico." She performs on a cello made by her husband, renowned violin maker David Carón. Her current cello was made in 2003. She named it "Rodin" after one of her favorite sculptors.

"I sculpt sound, now, with Rodin," said Rebecca Carón.

The noon concert promises to be a relaxing, delightful experience for listeners. Carón walked me through the program's emotional landscape. She said that Bridge's "Meditation" is very melodic and soothing and Rachmaninoff's "Vocalise" has a dreamlike quality with "ribbons of wonderful sound unfurling." This sets the stage for the Brahms' Sonata "Sandwich."

Carón said Brahms' first movement of "Sonata in E Minor" is like a walk through the woods, with a dialogue between the two instruments, nudging each other along. Kashperova's "Sonata in E Major" has a "beautiful, fluid sense of melody" which Carón likened to a lying in a meadow listening to birds on "a sumptuous, soothing warm summer afternoon." Carón said the second movement of Brahms' "Sonata in E Minor" is based on two European dance forms - the playful French minuet and the gentle, slow ländler from southern Germany, a precursor to the waltz.

Carón quipped that the concert ends with the aviary section, since both closing pieces have a bird theme. "The Swan" is part of Camille Saint-Saëns orchestral "Carnival of the Animals" but in the original composition "The Swan" is written for only cello and piano. Carón said it has a gliding quality, like a swan moving across a lake. The final piece, "Song of the Birds," is composed by Pablo Casals and expresses "a simple longing for peace." Carón noted that Casals, who was from Catalonia, presented this piece at the United Nations as the voice of his country asking for peace.

Carón said the afternoon performance is intended to offer its audience members a nice interlude in their day and a fresh perspective after some leisurely musical nourishment.

"After the music you can go back to work again, but hopefully carrying all of that beautiful melody inside of you," reflected Carón.

For more information about the program or the First Fridays concert series, contact (575) 770-2979.

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