Bonnie Doon Piano Quartet debuts in St. Albert
By: Anna Borowiecki
| Posted: Wednesday, Oct 17, 2012 03:15 pm
The Bonnie Doon Piano Quartet
St. Albert Chamber Music Recital Series
Saturday, Oct. 20 at 7:30 p.m.
Don’s Piano Showroom
8 Riel Drive
Tickets: $25/adults; $20/students, seniors. Drop by Art Gallery of St. Albert, 19 Perron Street, 780-460-4310 or at Don’s Piano, 780-459-5525
The St. Albert Chamber Music Recital Series’ theme this season – Music Loving Souls Be Moved – sounds almost like a love letter to all music lovers.
There is no finer way to launch the season than with The Bonnie Doon Piano Quartet, a group dedicated to preserving classical music and making it accessible to numerous communities throughout Alberta.
Based in Edmonton and named after the south side residential neighbourhood, this vibrant ensemble will share their passion with St. Albert on Saturday at Don’s Piano Showroom.
It’s been a fixture on the music scene for 10 years with Janna Olson (piano), Alycia Au (violin) Aaron Au (viola) and Julie Amundsen (cello). For this performance, St. Albert’s Neda Yamach will temporarily replace Alycia Au.
“Neda is a wonderful violinist and Aaron felt she would be a good fit. She listens well. She blends well. She responds well to subtle phrasing and fits right in,” says spokesperson Janna Olson.
Opening the recital is Cassidy Nuanethong, 9, a local violinist who has been a regular participant of the St. Albert Rotary Music Festival.
The chamber music quartet features four works that range from Antonio Vivaldi’s 18th century baroque works to Frank Bridge’s more contemporary 20th century classical works.
The evening’s centrepiece is Robert Schumann’s quintessential Piano Quartet in E flat major. This 30-minute work is broken into four movements and is considered a standard of chamber music repertoire.
“I thought it significant that it’s the 160th anniversary almost to the date,” says Olson, explaining that Schumann sketched the original between Oct. 24 and Oct. 30, 1852.
“It’s considered to be a well-crafted work. He does a good job of integrating the piano with strings. The piano is a percussion instrument and can overwhelm the strings.”
Schumann’s wife Clara performed the first private and public performance. A critic of the times described the piece as “full of spirit and vitality … with soaring flights of imagination.”
The quartet also performs a shorter composition of another grand master – Franz Schubert’s A String Trio.
“It’s really a nice blending of instruments. It’s cheerful, bordering more on the classic than the romantic style.”
And then there’s Frank Bridge’s Miniatures for Violin, Cello and Piano.
“These pieces are designed to be accessible for amateur musicians. They are very short pieces. A few have connections to baroque dances. We play a minuet and a gavotte.”
There is obvious passion and pride in Olson’s voice as she describes her fellow players.
“I feel very fortunate to play with such formidable string players. It’s not only technique, but their communication abilities. Their playing engages the audience. No one will leave disappointed.
A champagne reception and meet-and-greet follows the performance.