By Victoria Strange
Kamloops’ Cascadia Reed Quintet performed before a dedicated audience at the Revelstoke Performing Arts Centre on Friday night
The quintet consists of Marea Chernoff (oboe), Christopher Lee (clarinet), Colin MacDonald (soprano / alto saxophone), Olivia Martin (bassoon), and AK Coope (bass clarinet). Each of these avid chamber musicians have solid biographies. Chernoff is currently principal oboe with the Kamloops Symphony and Lions Gate Sinfonia. Lee is principal clarinet of Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra. MacDonald is a freelance saxophonist, composer and arranger, and in 2006 formed his own chamber orchestra, The Colin MacDonald Pocket Orchestra, to present his original works. Martin has been principal bassoonist in the Kamloops Symphony since 2002 and has played with the Vancouver Island Symphony Orchestra since 1999. Coope has been a member of Standing Wave, one of Canada’s leading new music chamber ensembles and can be heard on countless CD recordings and film soundtracks, from Dan Mangan to Disney.
The evening started with an introduction by MacDonald. Raices, an original by MacDonald himself, was composed for pipe organ and later transcribed for reed instruments. It began with a slow opening that then developed into the faster body of the piece. MacDonald described the work as having creeping vines of melody, pulsing and growing.
Each piece was introduced before it was played, giving the audience an overview of the work, composer, and also the era in which it was originally performed. The gavotte, we were told, was a popular court dance of the 16th and 17th centuries, frequently included by composers in the suites of dances that formed many instrumental compositions. Not only did these introductions provide a helpful basis for those in the audience who may not have been as familiar with chamber music, but it also allowed for a deeper appreciation of the work.
After travelling back in time to works by Rameau and Mozart, the evening ended with Splinter, created by American post-minimalist composer, Marc Mellits in 1966. This composition was an exciting set of short works, inspired by different species of trees.
The Cascade Reed Quintet played beautifully throughout the evening from beginning to end. For the Revelstoke audience, it was an enjoyable and informative evening.