By Brian Lawrence, Creston Valley Advance
Nelson’s La Cafamore string quartet will return to Rossland on Monday, April 22 to perform two works, one well-known and the other not so.
Audiences on the quartet’s Kootenay tour will enjoy Franz Schubert’s Death and the Maiden (String Quartet No. 14 in D Minor), as well as a more recent work, Black Angels, by American composer George Crumb, in which the members will play their usual instruments in unusual ways, and throw in a few new sounds for good measure.
A variety of percussive instruments — such as crystal glasses and a tam-tam gong — will be used, and in some parts, will play their instruments, well, backwards, with their fingers near the bridge and the bow where their fingers usually go.
“Some of the techniques are very difficult,” said cellist Jeff Faragher. “We’ve all been practicing on our own for about eight months. …
“[Crumb] is a master of soundscapes. He tells stories through experimenting with different tones and pushing the edge of what instruments can do.”
Chanting of numbers in various languages, including German, Japanese and Hebrew, rounds out Black Angels, which Crumb wrote in 1970 to represent the struggle of good versus evil.
“The piece is a journey,” said Fragher. “It embodies a fall from grace and a journey through hell. It’s not directly religious per se, and it’s not based on anything religious.”
The work is comprised of three parts. The first, Departure, depicts the fall, the second, Absence, introduces the dark themes of the fallen angel, and the third, Return, brings forth beautiful music as God prevails over evil.
Faragher was introduced to the work in college, when a friend played it for him at a library listening station. He was told to turn the volume up for the beginning because it was really quiet — which he discovered wasn’t the case.
“The beginning is extremely violent and loud,” Faragher said, adding that his startled reaction got him kicked out of the library.
That doesn’t represent the entire score, however.
“It’s challenging enough, but still there are some beautiful melodies, there are some really magical moments that draw the audience in,” he said. “There’s a bit of theatricism, as well, with all the instruments we have.”
The Schubert piece, Death and the Maiden, also has a serious tone. Written in 1824, the theme of death is present in all four movements.
“Because of the dark nature of the program, we thought it would fit,” Faragher said. “It’s probably one of his most famous. They’ll kind of mirror each other nicely.”
- The performance begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Rossland Gallery.
- Tickets are $15 for adults, $10 for students and children, and $45 for families, available at Bear Country Kitchen and at the door.
- For more information, visit www.facebook.com/LaCafamoreStringQuartet.
Carolyn Cameron (violin) was raised in Saskatoon, where she studied violin and piano. She has been a member of the Saskatoon Symphony, the Regina Symphony and the National Youth Orchestra of Canada. She currently lives in Rossland.
Josette Laforge (violin) was born and raised in Quebec. She studied violin under Gyorgi Terebesi and Michiko Nagashima at Université Laval. She has been a member of the l’Orchestre Symphonique du Saguenay Lac-St.-Jean (Quebec), the Ottawa Symphony and the Santa Fe Symphony (New Mexico). Laforge now lives in Nelson, where she teaches violin.
Alexis More (viola) was raised in Victoria where she studied violin and then viola. She received a B. Mus. degree from the University of Victoria, where she was also a member of the Victoria Chamber Orchestra. More lives in Crescent Valley and teaches violin, viola and cello in Nelson, Castlegar and the Slocan Valley.
Jeff Faragher (cello) began musical studies at the age of four with the Kodaly program; at six he began cello with Diana Nuttal. He has a BA in music from the University of Alberta and a Master of Music degree from McGill University. He currently tours extensively throughout Western Canada with various artists such as Keri Lynn Zwiker and Harp Rouge.