Group to play a ‘collage’ of pieces | SteamboatToday.com

Group to play a ‘collage’ of pieces

Kelly Silva

— In a German tongue, Kathleen Allen belted out a soprano tone accompanied by three other chamber musicians gathered at the Maddox residence in an intimate setting for the first ever Classical Collage.

A group of about 11 close musician friends sat in the living space and listened to the rehearsal of a unique collage of harpsichord, soprano, bass and oboe.

The foursome of chamber musicians organized to present a free concert at 4 p.m. this Sunday at the Depot Art Center.

“I planted the seed and we all tilled the garden,” Allen said of starting the idea of the collage.

Friend Mary Giovanetti said she’ll attend this Sunday’s concert also because of the caliber of music presented.

“I thought it was very good the way it went right along, as it was romantic,” Giovanetti said.

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Giovanetti was a professional pianist and teacher in Philadelphia before moving to Steamboat Springs. She said she knows Allen because she tunes Giovanetti’s piano.

“She is a tremendous piano technician,” Giovanetti said of the soprano singer. “She could definitely be in the opera world. She’s brilliant in many ways.”

Allen said she timed the concert perfectly between the Strings season and the Steamboat Chamber Orchestra production.

“By September, everyone will be hungry for classical music,” Allen said. “But it’s an experiment.”

At the start of Sunday’s rehearsal, Allen said she chose Handel as one of the first pieces because of the unusual yet complementary instruments.

In the program, Allen presents the words to the soprano pieces in German, as well as an interpreted space for the English translation.

“I like this mixed programming; it’s nice to listen to,” Allen said. “It’s enlightening without being taxing.”

Allen said very few classical music pieces have been written with singing parts, and because they’re so rarely done, she wanted to be a part of implementing something new in Steamboat.

The unusual sound of a harpsichord adds an ancient tone to musical pieces, although Vicki Sharp said the second and third pieces she performed were made for the harpsichord.

“Scarlatti and Bach wrote the music for the harpsichord because the piano was not yet the thing to have,” Sharp said.

So, the other musicians took a seat in the audience and listened to Sharp’s dancing fingers play Sonata No. 449 in B Minor, by Domenico Scarlatti, and Italian Concerto, Allegro, BWV 971, by Johann Sebastian Bach.

When Allen and the other musicians entered the illusory stage in the living room, Allen smiled at the next Handel piece that was filled with laughter and giggles.

“This is my favorite because I enjoy the text. Everything rejoices and laughs, but this one actually giggles,” Allen said. And with Dettwiler stroking her bow in an agitated manner, the audience could hear the happiness and joy of the piece.

After the foursome finished Meine Seele hort in Sehen, HWV 207, Sharp turned to the black piano and began a piece by one of her favorite composers, Frederic Chopin.

But before her performance, Sharp gave a quick history of Chopin.

“He was considered the poet of piano. He liked night music, he liked the mystery,” Sharp said. “This piece is a little agitated, almost Beethovenish.”

After two more pieces of classical soprano pieces with Sharp and Allen only, they continued to perform 20th century pieces containing more flavor and a distinct tone.

“Twentieth century music is not usually my thing,” Allen said of the folkish style of Rachmaninoff, Barber and Britten.

Allen said the nine different pieces from composers came together with the desire to present a broad range of music.

“This is something that would appeal to the highly appreciated ear without being highly sophisticated,” Allen said, adding she wanted to broaden the pallet of experiences.

The lineup of composers represent a chronology of time and diverse cultural backgrounds including German, Russian and Polish, among others.