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:
- 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.
- 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)