Review

Chamber Music Kelowna presents “Young Trailblazers”, January 11, 2019

The Lysander Piano Trio gave a well-rounded and energetic performance on Friday, January 11 at the Mary Irwin Theatre as part of Chamber Music Kelowna’s 2018-2019 season. The trio has an impressive resumé and the musicians also perform as accomplished soloists in Europe and North America. The members of the trio, Itamar Zorman, violin, Michael Katz, cello and Liza Stepanova, piano, called their program “Young Trailblazers” because the works on the program were all written by young composers near the beginning of their careers.  

 As a trailblazer for women composers, Lili Boulanger lived a short life (1893-1918), yet she had a remarkable effect on the music which came after her. D’un matin de printemps is a short work, demonstrative of the French style of her time. The work sparkles with the colours and rhythms suggestive of spring.

The Kelowna performance of Ghostwritten Variations by Reinaldo Moya (b. 1984) was the Canadian Premier.  The variations consist of the composer’s interpretation of what certain famous literary characters might have written had they been composers. Notable in this performance was the pyrotechnical nature of the writing and the skill of the performers, who played the treacherous passages and complicated rhythms brilliantly.  

The Piano Trio in G Major is a very youthful work of the impressionist composer Claude Debussy (1862-1918). His style at the beginning of the work is light and tuneful, almost like salon music. By the last movement the music begins to take on the vagueness and harmonic and rhythmic complexity of the more mature Debussy.

The Piano Trio No. 1 in B Major, Op 8 by Johannes Brahms (1883-1897) is unusual in that it is both an early and late work, having been written when the composer was young, and revised 35 years later. The Brahms trio was the weakest performance on the program, with inconsistencies of pitch and timing. Overall, the Lysander Trio gave a very passionate and virtuosic performance even though they sometimes performed as soloists rather than as a tightly knit ensemble.

Karen Krout is a violinist who moved to Kelowna in 2003 after retiring from her post as Assistant Concertmaster of the Calgary Philharmonic Orchestra.  She taught at the Kelowna Community Music School until 2008 and played in the Okanagan Symphony Orchestra until 2011.