Saturday, September 28, 2013 7:30pm. Classical, World, Jazz and something more.... Featuring: Special guest Beverly Soulière - native drums, Ralitsa Tcholakova - violin, Ron Korb - flute, Mark Ferguson - piano. Music by Ron Korb, Mark Horvat (Première of a piece based on First Nations Folklore), Hiroki Sagakuchi and other composers. MacKay United ChurchRalitsa, the Bulgarian-Canadian violinist, had sent me an invitation to this; she'd organised the concert herself and it was full of quirky juxtapositions (she used that word when introducing her programme, which caused me to smile). The first 5 items were as follows:
- a fast fiddle solo by a contemporary Canadian composer (I didn't catch the name, but I gather he used to work as a truck driver), part folksy, part classical
- a movement from Beethoven's "Moonlight" Piano Sonata played by one of Ralitsa's pupils, a talented Korean boy
- variations on a Korean melody, a duet for Ralitsa and the same boy, playing the violin this time
- a Jig and Reel by the composer of the first item
- an arrangement of Bulgarian folk music chosen by Ralitsa, in 7/8 time
Then Ron Korb made his appearance, wearing two long, pink, Asian tunics, one on top of the other. He is a man of striking appearance with long grey hair, who plays a multitude of flutes.
The concert continued with a piece for flute and piano that Mr. Korb calls "Mozart's Wedding." Mozart never had music at his hasty little wedding to Konstanze, so he'd written something suitable for that occasion "... and for his honeymoon in the Caribbean!" (wink) It was cleverly in the style of ...
Then followed a piece for penny whistle, fiddle and piano, dedicated to a Celtic God. This one sounded very Irish, bitter-sweet, with glissandi on the whistle.
The advertised "Première of a piece based on First Nations Folklore" came next, with Ms. Soulière on the native drum. She is also a Justice of the Peace, by the way. Mr Korb played an alto flute in this one.
Item no. 9, for violin, flute and piano, was inspired by Mr. Korb's visit to St. Germain in Paris and once again was very soulful. I'd rather like to get hold of one of his CDs to use as a conversation piece at a dinner party.
"Christmas in Prague" had an Eastern European flavour (as well as a Ron Korb flavour) and was written for a bass flute, such as you rarely see at concerts.
Five more numbers from Mr. Korb's albums:
- A harvest jig, with the audience clapping to the beat.
- "Beckett's Whistle"––a tribute to Samuel Beckett, inspired by a visit to his home in France. The piece was Irish folk style again, expressing Beckett's probable homesickness and featuring an Irish flute.
- A trio in the style of ... inspired by a visit to Beethoven's house in Vienna.
- Something completely different, played on a Cambodian bamboo flute, held crosswise. Mr. Korb put its end into his mouth where it pressed against the inside of his cheek as he blew into it. This one didn't sound at all Irish.
- "Saint Johann"––a tribute to J.S. Bach ... which dissolved into jazz, the pianist (Mark Ferguson) really coming into his own here!
The final two items on the programme were another jazzy one, "Dark Eyes," the audience again clapping a beat, and a "Native Earth Song" including the native lady drummer again and a tribesman's flute, which, so I learned, was traditionally a serenading instrument.
I don't imagine that the elders who founded the United Church on MacKay street ever anticipated it being used for this sort of purpose.