As the local music community is still bouncing after three great concerts this weekend, there is one more this Thursday that is bound to win praise too. That is Folk-Tale and Fauré – the second concert in the new Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series.
Folk-Tale and Fauré features cellist Paul Christopher and pianist Elena Bogaczová – both music professors at Northwestern State University as well as outstanding musicians. Paul Christopher is also a regular with the Rapides Symphony Orchestra and was in-town this weekend for their Pops on the River. When the two of us talked this weekend, he seemed particularly excited about playing Glissées – a piece by the Korean composer Isang Yun known mainly to new music circles. I reassured him that Glissées would appeal to larger audiences too between the colors and demanding techniques required of the soloist. The other pieces included on the program are the Second Cello Sonata by Gabriel Fauré and Folk-Tale by Arnold Bax – pieces written within just a few years of each other and both full of poetic craftsmanship.
Last month’s An Evening with Scott Joplin – a concert featuring classical guitarist John De Chiaro – was standing-room only, and this month we’re expecting another wonderful turn-out – including many of the same people who were there to enjoy the first concert. Watch KALB’s Morning Jambalaya tomorrow morning for a sneak peak as Paul Christopher will join me on screen to play an excerpt from the concert. My program notes are also now available online if you would like to read them as preview to Thursday’s music.
Folk-Tale and Fauré begins at 6 PM Thursday evening at the Hearn Stage in Downtown Alexandria. Arrive at 5:30, however, to enjoy appetizers and a cash bar provided by the Diamond Grill. And, I would like to thank Red River Music again for supplying the piano Thursday evening.
To backtrack a bit to this weekend’s concerts… I had the chance to attend Les Fest’s Jammin’ in the Jungle Thursday as well as the Rapides Symphony Orchestra’s Pops on the River Saturday. The featured band at Jammin’ in the Jungle was Bonerama – a band based in New Orleans which takes its name from the three trombonists who lead the group. Other members included a guitarist, an electric bassist, a tuba player, a keyboardist, and a drummer. These assembled forces gave it much the same sound as the fusion band Chicago – whereas Chicago describes themselves as a “rock and roll band with horns,” I think the inverse is true of Bonerama – horns (properly trombones and a tuba) backed by a rock band. The group had a nice sound, and I especially enjoyed when the trombonists really got going.
Pops this year featured three singers from the Shreveport Opera – including my friend soprano Sarah Bauer who I had met last year when the Arts Council brought the Shreveport Opera to Alexandria. A highlight for me was when Sarah and mezzo-soprano Gillian Cotter sang the Flower Duet from Lakmé – just a beautiful rendition. Pops was a good way to kick-off the orchestra’s season – in November, we’ll get the chance to hear both the Rapides Symphony Orchestra and Shreveport Opera once more.
Until then, join us for Folk-Tale and Fauré this Thursday and even more great music throughout October!
About Jackson. Jackson Harmeyer is a music historian and composer. He is a graduate of the Louisiana Scholars’ College – Louisiana’s designated honors college – where he completed an undergraduate thesis entitled “Learning from the Past: The Influence of Johann Sebastian Bach upon the Soviet Composers.” He has followed classical music around the world, attending the BachFest Leipzig in Germany, Colorado’s Aspen Music Festival, and many concerts across Louisiana and Texas. Resident in Alexandria, Jackson works with the Arts Council of Central Louisiana as Series Director of the Abendmusik Alexandria chamber music series. He also writes the program notes for the Rapides Symphony Orchestra. As his day job, Jackson serves as Operations Manager of TicketCentral.