A local string quartet is presenting an intimate evening of classical Russian music, including a rare piece composed by Czar Ivan the Terrible.
The Capriccio String Quartet – comprised of three instructors from the Prince George Conservatory of Music and a student from the University of Northern B.C. – presents A Russian Winter’s Night, 8 p.m. Friday, November 28 at the Two Rivers Gallery.
Because the venue has no stage, the quartet – with the exception of the cellist Jordan Dyck, who must be seated to play his instrument – will stand for the performance, with the audience on all sides.
Broek Bosma, artistic director of the Conservatory, says the small audience, and the surrounding nature of the seats creates a very intimate evening between the audience and performers.
“The audience will be very involved,” Bosma said. “They’ll be able to see the players play – up close and personal. They’ll be a part of the show.”
The group has been playing as a quartet since September. Dyck, along with Leanne Drewlo on viola, and Peter Blake on violin, have performed with each other for years – regulars with the Prince George Symphony Orchestra. Freya Kristensen also on violin, a masters student in international studies, is the new comer to the group, and has been playing the violin since she was two.
With the exception of a few promotional performances, Friday’s concert will be the Capriccio’s first as a group.
For A Russian Winter’s Night, Capriccio will perform four works by four Russian composers – Avro PÃ?rt, Alexander Borodin, Sergei Rachmaninov and Ivan the Terrible – spanning the ages from the 1500s to the contemporary.
Ivan the Terrible (1530-1584), the first czar of Russia, is better known for the development of the Russian state through conquest, repression and enslavement of peasants than for his music composition. The piece was originally written as an Orthodox chant, and was arranged by Dyck for the quartet.
Borodin (1833-1887), a chemist and hobby-composer, was one of the founding members of the Mighty Five, a group of composers who banded together in the mid 1800s to create a Russian method – influenced by folk music.
Rachmaninov (1873-1943), exiled from Communist Russia, set up shop in Hollywood and is most famous for his piano concertos. Capriccio will perform one of the Rachmaninov Vespers – a choir piece sung at a very low octave. Bosma will join the quartet for the Rachmaninov piece, playing the viola to help the low sound.
PÃ?rt is a contemporary composer, who – disgusted by his own music – quit composing for seven years. He reinvented himself and his music. A sort of musical Hemmingway, “tintinnabulation” was PÃ?rt’s attempt to reduce music to its purest form.
“His idea of the purest form is a single resonating tone, followed by another, the best analogy is bells,” Dyck said.