Amber Archibald, Ingrid Matthews, and Haeyonn ShinOur 2017 Valentine Concert featured three angels playing romantic music for an adoring audience. This concert sold out prior to the performance, for the third year in a row! We are so pleased we could bust.
This reviewer expected to be star-struck upon hearing the music, but had no idea the verve and passion that would infuse the performance. Artistic Director Kevin Krentz, who usually brings an invigorating approach to familiar music mixed with exciting and unexpected selections, began the concert with the 17th-century, Prelude and Passacaglia, by the Austrian composer Romanus Weichlein, a kind of "Baroque Schubert Quintet," arranged specifically for a modern ensemble by Ingrid Mattews, a master of baroque artistry, who played the leading role on her period-correct 1703 violin.
Then came a string quartet by the late-19th-century Russian composer Anton Arensky, scored for the unusual and deeply rich combination of violin, viola, and two cellos, played by two couples, the highly expressive Ervin Luka Sešek on violin sitting next to his bride, Amber Archibald on viola, and two cellists, Kevin Krentz and Haeyoon Shin. What more sentimental combination could one have?
Host Verne Windham entertained after intermission with some brief lines of poetry and a fascinating introduction to the romantic character of composer Antonin Dvořák, whose lush, romantic string quintet Op.77 rounded out the evening. Written by the composer when he was just 34, the quintet highlights Dvořák’s talent for embellishing short phrases that evolve into ever-changing and captivating themes. The audience came away wowed by the powerful and rich bass lines from Mr. Todd Larsen of the Pacific Northwest Ballet Orchestra, which resonated magnificently in the Merc Playhouse Theater.
Mr. Larsen, for whom this was a first visit to our Festival, came away wowed by the spectacular enthusiam of the Methow audience and their hunger for fine music. Bravo!
Speaking of hunger, after the show all the people who bought "Golden Tickets" were treated to a late-night after-concert feast at the Arrowleaf Bistro with all the musicians in attendance. Sparkling conversation at the fully-packed event centered around the concert and the lives of the musicians. Dining was interrupted only briefly by a stunning (and intimate!) cello-four-hands performance by Kevin and Haeyoon. Hosts Joanne and John Brown offered up a satisfying and tasteful menu of three delicious entrees followed by dessert. And that, dear reader, brings me to the subject of fellowship, cameraderie and the spirit that characterizes our annual Valentine event, "What better after concert ends than hoist a cup with your best friends?"
See you next year,
Jane Orme, President of the Board