octetlandia tonight (11/13)!

Tonight, the excellent, young (two years old) 45th Parallel ensemble joins forces with the Arnica Quartet to perform three octets by three very different composers. The concert is at 7:30 p.m. at the Old Church [map + directions]. You can purchase tickets online here, or at the door before the show.

Octet concerts don’t happen very often. There are two very good reasons for this:

  1. There are not that many really good octets that have been composed. Please, spare me the emails or comments, I know that there are a lot of octets, but not many of them are good.
  2. It’s really difficult to get eight busy musicians together for adequate rehearsal time.

Luckily for us, we had discovered an online scheduling tool called Doodle. It allowed us to quickly see which dates and times for which we were all available.

Rehearsing itself can be a challenge – you’ve got to find a location that’s big enough for eight string players, first of all. Then you need to be able to communicate clearly and effectively (difficult when you’ve got chatty-Cathy cellists) when eight people all have their own ideas. Luckily, we left most of the communicating to our intrepid first violinists for each piece – Bruch: Adam LaMotte, Shostakovich: Fumino Ando, and Mendelssohn: Greg Ewer. Hearing each other in a very loud rehearsal space can also present challenges. So, last night we took our first foray out of Greg’s living room and went to the Community Music Center to use their hall as a fill in for the Old Church. Predictably, we couldn’t hear much of anything, which is close to what it will be like in the Old Church, but worse. So that will hopefully clear up some of the “help, I can’t hear a thing!” vibe at the performance tonight.

These are the three octets we’ll be playing tonight:

  • Max Bruch – Octet, Op. posth. (1920)
  • Dmitri Shostakovich – Two movements for string octet, Op. 11
  • Felix Mendelssohn – Octet, Op. 20

It should be a great show, with fabulous musicians all around:

  • Greg Ewer, violin
  • Fumino Ando, violin
  • Adam LaMotte, violin
  • Shin-young Kwon, violin
  • Hillary Schoap, viola
  • Charles Noble, viola
  • Justin Kagan, cello
  • Heather Blackburn, cello (Shostakovich, Mendelssohn)
  • Ted Botsford, double bass (Bruch)

10 Replies to “octetlandia tonight (11/13)!”

  1. With the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, I can reliably report: the concert rocked! Such superb interplay and interaction in every piece; everyone contributing just what was needed, standing out gloriously when appropriate and supporting generously the rest of the time. Congratulations!

  2. well Heather has already outed herself, but I was going to say that it was not very nice to call Badbeard a chatty-Kathy ’cause in the interest of marital harmony, Mr Noble could not possibly be referring to the other cellist!

    Would you say that playing the Bruch with 2 cellos is a viable option? I realize the 2nd cellist might end up stupendously bored, but the 8tet formation does come up quite a bit at one of the chamber music weekends I attend and it would be nice to add another one to the ‘Anything-but or What-along-with Mendelssohn’ list…. that would be those pieces that you said not to e-mail you about!

  3. dang, i am sorry to have missed this gig – i truly intended to be there. alas . . .

    two quick things:

    1/ while there may not be a lot of good octets, curiously, how many of the ones on the list i sent y’all a week or so ago have you actually heard?

    2/ any chance of getting you string-benders to inflate further for Lutoslawski’s “preludes & fugue” for 13 solo strings (7/3/2/1)? if so, i am prepared to offer you some prime real estate during MMM 2014 (6-16 march 2014). more specifically, i would gladly reserve friday the 14 or sat the 15th for you. AND, i will kick in $1000 to help “git R done!”

    talk to me . . .

  4. Not a musician, just a lover of great chamber, symphonic, choral stuff of which we are wonderfully blessed with in Portland. Thought that last night’s performance was joyous, such great playing and ensemble work. What sound 8 string players can produce, and you all appeared to be enjoying playing together. Doesn’t need to get a whole lot better for me.

    Thank you

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.