Concordia Premier of Ewazen Trio Was Rich as Chocolate Cake

A nearly packed house at the Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday delighted in the world premier of Eric Ewazen’s re-worked Trio for Trumpet, Cello and Piano that added one hundred new measures to the original composition. The composer noted that trumpet player, Chris Gekker, who had performed the original work with Ewazen, had urged him to expand the piece because of its delightfully rich sound. He likened it to a deliciously rich chocolate cake from which one piece sometimes is just not enough. From the way that the crowd devoured the piece ending with a standing ovation, it was clear that Gekker was correct.

Gekker immediately showed the concert goers why he has been acclaimed for his “bright virtuosity” by the New York Times and is soloist on more than twenty recordings. Ewazen performed flawlessly on the piano and provided a unique composer’s rendition of the work. Michelle Djokic, artistic director of Concordia, provided the warm, soaring cello completion of the Trio.

This was a concert that promised contrasting styles and it succeeded in presenting a variety that clearly thrilled the Concordia fans. Think of the difference between a minuet and a Slavic dance. The minuet is a celebration albeit pompous and stiff. The Slavic dance is a celebration with passion and intensity. Here were two contrasting styles, each communicating a feeling of leisurely enjoyment.

In the Mozart Divertimento KV 563 for violin, viola and cello the Concordia Chamber Players delivered a precise pronunciation of Mozart’s musical statements. Cellist, Michelle Djokic, led the charge to portray the composer’s idea to convey simplicity and charm with a blend of profound elegance. Violist, Mark Holloway, showed the audience why he has continued to be in demand by some of the nation’s greatest orchestras. His viola provided the perfect complement to Djokic’s deeply resonating cello that was lifted to great heights by the joyous violin of Peter Winograd. Winograd is a long-time Concordia member and is first violinist for the American String Quartet.

Two Songs, Opus 91 by Johannes Brahms, bridged the Mozart and Ewazen compositions beautifully setting the tone for the Ewazen premier. What better way to prepare for a piece of chocolate cake than by listening to a classic lullaby?

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Chris Gekker, Candace Jones, Eric Ewazen and Michelle Djokic

Photo Brian Keyes

The Concordia Chamber Players return to the Trinity Episcopal Church on Sunday, March 30 at 3 PM. Tickets are $25 and are available by contacting Concordia at www.concordiaplayers.org or by calling 215-297-5972.

 

By Roy Ziegler