by Carol Masters, Becketwood Member
Becketwood has the good fortune to host a variety of music events that entertain and even thrill us. Our program committee, for many years led by Rita Juhl, now by Nancy Morin and David McKay, has worked to bring in high quality performers as often as possible.
On a cool early spring Sunday afternoon Helen Grant introduced her friends, members of the Krogstad Trio. The Trio: Rolf Krogstad, viola; Lars Krogstad Ortiz, cello; and Karla Cole, piano, brought us two classical-romantic pieces from their repertoire. Rolf, Helen told us, is principal viola and Lars principal cellist of the Civic Orchestra of Minneapolis; Karla Cole is Director of Music at St. Christopher’s Episcopal Church in Roseville, MN.
The Mendelssohn Sonata in C minor is among the composer’s most mature early chamber music works, although he was only 15 when he completed it. Its quiet mood is retained throughout the sonata, but chorale-like melodies enhance the music’s emotional tone. The second selection, Brahms’ Trio in A minor, Opus 114, also has strikingly difficult but rewarding interplay between the instruments: a scholar contemporary to Brahms wrote that the music “flowed as though the instruments were in love with each other.”
A very different musical event in late April brought us the Maple Street Ramblers, a six-piece traditional jazz band (trumpet, clarinet/sax, trombone, banjo/guitar, bass and keyboard). They played Dixieland standards (When The Saints Come Marching In, Bill Bailey), sing-along melodies, popular Gospel, and some mostly familiar tunes of the 20s-40s as well as swing, dance, and polka music. Passive listening to the Ramblers wasn’t possible or encouraged; besides the lusty singing-along, they had us toe-tapping and clapping and finally, up on our feet and marching.
In their 2016 Spring Sprint Across America, the Rose City Mixed Quartet, a vocal ensemble, landed at Becketwood on May 27. The quartet hail from Portland, OR, springing from the Portland Symphonic Choir over 20 years ago, but have toured all over the U.S. and many European countries. Their lively a cappella style, “usually unplugged, sometimes even off the map, but always entertaining,” ranged from Renaissance to Baroque to modern swing and pop. “Off the map” choices were less familiar or transcontinental pieces like “Ta Lendab Mesipuu Poole,” “Paul and His Chickens,” and “Il Est Bel et Bon” that showed the quartet’s virtuosity and grace. Check out the group’s Facebook page —you may see some familiar faces!