November 24, 2008
By SUSAN PENNINGTON
The Falmouth Chamber Players’ debut concert, directed by John Yankee, was a true delight for our community and a great success for the musicians. The group came together only 10 weeks ago and is organized as a nonprofit corporation in Massachusetts. Members pay dues to cover orchestra expenses, and the group accepts financial contributions. It was great fun to recognize people in the following professions: scientists (some retired), intern, social worker, conservatory director, music teachers, librarian, entertainment editor, landscape architect, architect, nurse, activities director and a few semi-pro musicians. All the amateurs, including a high school student, united to enjoy the love of music.
The program began with an overture from Handel’s “Water Music” for strings and woodwinds. It was bright and sonorous, joyous and celebratory. These feelings could be seen on the faces of many of the instrumentalists, increasing the appreciation of the audience. Hilde Maingay, joined by Marvin Grosslein, were highlighted in violin solos and duets, which they played with flair, blend, and wonderful tone, as did all the strings.
A Telemann concerto for recorder and flute followed, and soloists Jan Elliott and Suzie Dasilva played the light-hearted themes with perfect coordination and precise attacks. The strings pressed underneath and were sometimes joined by the wind instruments in a lovely display of enchanting delight. Mary Sholkovitz, cello (a new instrument for this flutist and teacher), and Tim Cronin, bassoon, provided a steady continuo, filled with sonority and panache. The concerto ended with a buoyant dance based on a Polish folk tune.
Bizet’s Scherzo from the “Symphony in C” brought horns (Kate Housman and John Bourne) and timpani (Jeff Myers) into the mix to add to the excitement. Mr. Yankee, in his humorous and charming introductions, said the classical orchestra (beginning with Haydn, Beethoven and Mozart) offered more dynamic possibilities than the Baroque. The FCP brought out a more thrilling, fuller sound, including an instrumental drone in the lower reaches, with a lovely minuet above.
“Andante Cantabile” by Tchaikovsky was lovingly played and filled with feeling.
The ending pieces were Glinka, “Kamarinskaja,” and Schubert, “Overture to Rosamunde.” Perhaps because of the length of the program, these had less clarity and precision, but had some nice moments.
Sunday’s performance, at the First Congregational Church, included a post-concert reception, and the audience could express their appreciation to the performers for all their concentrated effort and for the instrument-shaped cookies! I can surmise that most of the filled church, as I, left into a blustery, cold, fall afternoon with warm hearts and touched souls.
(Susan Pennington is the music director at St. Anthony’s Church and teaches art appreciation at the Cape Cod Conservatory.)