Echo Chamber Toronto: Poetry in Motion presented at the Isabel Bader Theatre last night as a part of Toronto Summer music was an interesting idea that worked pretty well. Five pieces of chamber music were presented along with introductory poems and, for the longer pieces, three dancers.
Echo Chamber Toronto consists of:
Aaron Schwebel, violin
Sheila Jaffé, violin
Keith Hamm, viola
Rémi Pelletier, viola
Leana Rutt, cello
Julie Hereish, cello
Philip Chiu, piano
Anisa Tejpar, dancer
Jarrett Siddall, dancer
Christian Lavigne, dancer
William Yong, choreographer
The program was:
Ralph Vaughan Williams: The Lark Ascending (in the original violin/piano version)
Claude Debussy: Suite Bergamasque L. 75, III. “Clair de lune”
Gabriel Fauré: Trois mélodies, Op. 7, No. 1, “Après un rêve”
Claude Debussy: Préludes, Premier Livre, L.117, VIII. “La fille aux cheveux de lin”
Arnold Schönberg: Verklärte Nacht, Op. 4
The first and last pieces were the most substantial and had the most choreography. Both pieces are, in a sense, about movement so that inspired the highly athletic choreography. I found these two pieces the most satisfying musically too with some lovely playing from messrs Chiu and Schwebel in Lark and some effective ensemble work in the Schoenberg sextet. It was an enjoyable but very short evening. The whole thing lasted about 70 minutes and a not insignificant chunk of that was rearranging the furniture. I know this is standard practice for chamber concerts but it does break up the mood. Maybe one could use wagons like in the opera house with alternative set ups pre arranged?
Nit picking aside it was an engaging concert and I’m always up for Verklärte Nacht.