Concordia Benefit Concert Sets Tone For The Season

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Concordia Chamber players Janet Arms, Catarina Szepes,
Barbara Allen, Michelle Djokic and Marka Gustavsson

By Roy Ziegler
Photo by Brian Keyes

Cellist, Michelle Djokic, Artistic Director of the Concordia Chamber Players, introduced the concert program Sunday afternoon with a reference to the recent devastation wrought by natural disasters around the globe and dedicated the performance to a celebration of life. The Nakashima Foundation for Peace sponsored the fundraiser for Concordia’s upcoming ninth concert season that begins on November 13.

In honor of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s 250th birthday in January, Djokic noted that the season would feature a prominent Mozart composition in each of its three performances framed by a variety of composers from the past three centuries.

Djokic admitted the difficulty in trying to link Mozart with three French composers included on the afternoon program. It is widely known that France was not one of Mozart’s favorite destinations. Ironically, his mother died in Paris during the same year that he composed the flute Quartet which opened the concert. The New York City Opera’s flutist, Janet Arms, clearly demonstrated why at least one prominent musicologist called the work the most beautiful accompanied solo ever written for the flute. The flowing melodies were enhanced by Djokic’s resonating cello underpinning the elegant violin of Catarina Szepes, who, among many other honors, won first prize in the Berlin National Youth competition and the viola of Marka Gustavsson,, Colorado Quartet member and a popular player in Lincoln Center’s Mostly Mozart festivals.

The ensuing French compositions billed by Djokic as impassionate, romantic and quirky seemed to describe three of Mozart’s traits. Debussy’s Trio for Harp, Flute and Viola evoked deep, haunting sensibilities and the Saint-Saens Fantasie for Violin and Harp portrayed a romance between the coquettish harp of Barbara Allen, principal harpist with the American Ballet Theater and Catarina Szepes’s passionate violin.

The, unfortunately, seldom played Roussel Serenade thrilled the audience as all five musicians seemed to begin playing from the exact center of a circle of sound then dashing off to various points along its circumference until magically reappearing together at its center.

The Concordia Chamber Players will open its ninth season on Sunday, November 13 at 3 PM in the Stephen Buck Theater at the New Hope-Solebury High School. Mozart’s profound masterpiece, the String Quintet in G minor, K. 516 will be featured with John Corigliano’s Fancy on a Bach Air, W.F. Bach’s Sonata in C minor of Viola and Harpsichord Obbligato, Peerson, Couperin, Rameau and Bond’s “Forces of Nature” and Handel’s Concerto Number 15 in D minor.

Tickets are $20 and may be purchased at the door or by calling 215.297.5972. Children under 15 years of age are always admitted free to Concordia’s concerts when accompanied by a paying adult.

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