Concordia musicians taking a bow after performing Beethoven.
Robert Rinehart, Marc Goldberg, Carmit Zori, Julie Landsman, Marji Danilow
Michelle Djokic, Todd Palmer.
By Roy Ziegler
Photo by Gordon Nieburg
Music is a timeless reflection of the human experience. Sunday afternoon the Concordia Chamber Players portrayed the emotions of three different centuries in their final concert of the season in New Hope. Concordia’s artistic director, cellist Michelle Djokic, set the scene for the afternoon in her opening remarks to the audience. “Jan Radzynski, in the String Trio, evokes the pain and suffering of attending the reopening of a synagogue that had been destroyed by the Nazis,” she noted. “Prokofiev entertains us with a kind of Fellini set to music in the Quintet, and Beethoven shows us his elegant style in the Septet,” she added.
The Radzynski Trio opened solemnly as Djokic’s mourning cello summoned the violin and viola to prayer. Carmit Zori’s violin and Robert Rinehart’s viola reluctantly responded to the call in hushed tones, then released all of their emotion before reaching a crescendo of pulsating sadness retreating to melancholic meditation. In the second movement the three artists stirred the emotions of the audience by communicating the struggle with conflicting feelings of pain and hope that are finally resolved by the tranquility of the healing spirit.
Prokofiev, perhaps mocking the extravagance and mood of the early twentieth century, presented his Quintet for a touring ballet company. Todd Palmer’s clarinet and Robert Ingliss’s oboe hopped around giddily in the opening movement stopping with consummate precision before retreating into an atmosphere of seeming introspection. Marji Danilow’s powerful double bass controlled the tempo as Carmit Zori’s violin called them all back with new vigor. Rinehart’s viola seemed to transform itself into a piano to help the ensemble finish with a graceful dance.
Unlike the brooding and heavy Beethoven compositions that are generally performed, the Concordia Chamber Players presented the elegant and regal side of the great composer. His Septet was one of the most popular compositions in his lifetime. Palmer, Rinehart and Zori communicated beautifully with the French horn played with articulate restraint by Julie Landsman and with Marc Goldberg’s somber, lulling bassoon. All the while, the mellow resonance of Danilow’s double bass provided a sense of comfort before surrendering to a joyful conclusion. The audience rewarded the players with a standing ovation and three curtain calls.
The Concordia Chamber Players will host a wine and cheese fundraising event on June 11, at the Prallsville Mill from 7 to 9 p.m. to help produce the programs for the 2004-2005 concert season. Tickets are $75 and can be purchased at Variete in New Hope and at Phillip’s Fine Wines in Stockton, NJ, or by calling Concordia at 215-297-5972.