Bob Becker

Yesterday’s lunchtime concert in the RBA consisted of four pieces for voice, tuned percussion and assorted other instruments by percussionist and composer Bob Becker.  Apparently the tonal palette for all four was taken from the North Indian rag; Rag Chandrakosh.  This is the sort of information I wouldn’t even be able to process without the help of the Wunderlemur.

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Schubert in the spring?

ollarsaba.jpgOff Centre Music Salon concluded their 2015/16 season with their 21st annual Schubertiad concert.  It kicked off, in normal OC style with young artists.  In this case Kallas and Vikas  Chari with a very competent rendering of the Allegro vivace from the Marches Militaires.  Then it was onto the main event; tenor Jeffrey Ollarsaba and Boris Zarankin performing Die Schöne Müllerin.  It was good.  Ollarsaba has quite a light, bright, rather pretty tenor and he can float  rather beautiful high notes.  I don’t know how it would go in a big opera house but it was well suited to the music and the relatively intimate Trinity St. Paul’s.  His diction and phrasing were close to ideal and his vocal acting was appropriately expressive without getting histrionic.  Some would consider him a bit over demonstrative in the hand and face gestures department but that rather seems to be the American way with lieder.  Zarankin accompanied sensitively.  He can play quite beautifully but he was also quite aggressively percussive in the more dramatic sections.  All in all most satisfying.  The concert concluded with Ilana Zarankin and clarinetist Colleen Cook joining Boris for Der Hirt aus dem Felsen.  It’s a curious work; somewhere between a lied and a concert aria with it’s many repeated sections and variations.  There was some really beautiful clarinet playing here which worked very well with Ilana’s bright timbre.  So, a pleasant way to spend an April Sunday afternoon but a bit of a downer to head out of a concert that pretty much concludes with “Der Frühling will kommen, Der Frühling, meine Freud'”into a snowstorm.  Some Frühling!

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