It was a wonderful evening for the North Okanagan Community Concerts Association as it presented the Canadian Guitar Quartet, returning to the Performing Arts Centre this past Friday night after an 18 year hiatus. The guitar concert was beautifully warmed up by the talented cello duo of Holly McCallum and Angela Zeng accompanied by Andrew Stoney on piano playing first a Serenata for Two Celli by Piatti and and then a Prelude by Shostakovitch. The selections were delicately presented to the appreciative audience with a lovely interplay between the celli and piano.
The guitar quartet awed the audience with their musical prowess and unexpected humour. They presented a selection of diverse pieces ranging from Mozart to an original composition entitled Empty Houses by group member Renaud Cote-Giguere. A stand out modern piece entitled Pulsar by Olga Amelkina-Vera showcased both the musical and virtuosic expertise of the quartet members. The modern Patrick Roux piece, Prologue, Fougue et Allegro Trepidant, showcased the technical capabilities of the group members who exchanged musical phrases with precision and sensitivity without sacrificing musicality. The group completed the regular concert with a fabulous French/Brazilian piece entitled Areias Brancas, Orgeu Negro from the music by Jobim, Bonfa and Trepanier based on music from the movie, Black Orpheus. The movement through the medley of well known Bossa Nova tunes was a comfortable way to evoke the well deserved standing ovation. The ensemble presented an encore that completed the very satisfying and exhilarating musical evening.
As the Quartet were introduced, we were told that its members have been concertizing for more than 22 years leaving Louis Trepanier as the one original member of the group. We were also told that this is perhaps the best of all of the various iterations of the quartet.
The proof of this was definitely in the playing.