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Utilizing her years of expertise and knowledge she shares more history and information about the composers, music, artists, and our concerts

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RECENT NEWS

July 21, 2021

2021-22 Season Announcement

Consortium Aurora Borealis is excited to announce its 43rd season in a new hybrid format. Like many performing arts groups, we’ve adapted our plans and have adopted new technologies.  Our Artistic Director has crafted a wonderful season that takes advantage of our new and exciting format.  We will live-stream all of our autumn concerts (September through December) with tentative plans to resume live, in-person performances in January, 2022.   We have also extended the season into the spring to allow for us to more easily adapt to changing public health measures.

The live-streamed concerts will be a new format for us, but will give us a wonderful opportunity to engage with you during the … [Read More]

Music makes US stronger

Music helps to strengthen relationships and connect individuals.  We produce professional concerts of music that otherwise would seldom be heard in our area, becoming Northwestern Ontario’s Baroque and Early Music specialists.  Our repertoire now covers many eras of classical music – Baroque and Beyond! 

Our mission is to educate as well as to entertain, to improve the quality of life in our community, to present concerts accessible to all, and to enlarge the city’s audience for classical music.

RECENT POSTS

Learn more about the music, composers, and artists featured in our concerts by reading our Artistic Director’s Blog

Mozart and More

Mozart and More!

Welcome to the second in Consortium’s series of four delightful digital performances, which you will be able to enjoy safely in the comfort of your own home! Our 43rd Concert Season, entitled “The Magic Returns!”, got off to a fantastic start four weeks ago, with pianist Evgeny Chugunov and cellist Peter Cosbey enchanting us with music by Brahms, Tchaikovsky, Arensky and Bloch in the programme “Rhapsodic Romanticism.” Their performances were indeed magical, and they received rave reviews!

We are happy to announce that both artists will return later this season. And we are delighted to inform you that we have will hopefully be returning to in-person concerts on Saturday, January 8, 2022, at Trinity United Church! We look forward to the return of violinist Jeremy Bell and pianist Evgeny Chugunov at that time, in a passionately Romantic programme. Two more live concerts will follow thereafter. Please stay tuned for details!

“Mozart and More” debuts virtually on October 23, 2021, and features three of our finest local musicians, whom you will see up close and personal, thanks to the fine professional videography provided by Chad Kirvan of Algoma House. His use of multiple cameras and microphones, changing angles, close-ups, and inventive studio lighting will enhance your viewing experience.

Thanks also to our wonderful Board of Directors for their great support, and to all our subscribers, sponsors, donors, and those who purchased tickets! Finally, we are most grateful to Trinity United Church and Sandra Cosbey in Thunder Bay for granting us access to their sanctuary for rehearsing and recording, and for kindly allowing us to use their Yamaha grand piano, without which this concert could not have taken place!

Pianist Mariko Kamachi Cosbey, clarinetist E-Chen Hsu, and violist Patrick Horn, were all set to have performed this concert live in Thunder Bay over a year ago. Although we had to cancel that performance because of COVID-19, never fear, the musicians agreed to perform this very same programme for us now as a virtual concert, happily for us! Works include Mozart’s melodiously charming Kegelstatt Trio, warmly lyrical music by Max Bruch, and a tango by Piazzolla arranged by our own Patrick Horn.

The combination of clarinet, viola, and piano is an unusual one, but one of great warmth, and particularly suited to the very Romantic strains of the Bruch pieces. Mozart composed the viola part with the intent of performing it himself, which he did at its premiere. So Patrick Horn will be impersonating Mozart here!

It is interesting to note the family connection in our concerts. E-Chen and Patrick are husband and wife, and both perform with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra. Mariko is married to cellist Peter Cosbey, who performed in our previous virtual concert, and will be appearing in two more between now and early December. All four have moved to Thunder Bay from far away and are raising their families here!

I have invited violist, composer, teacher, arranger, and long-time Consortium friend and associate Patrick Horn to write the present blog post from his perspective as a performer in this concert. Since moving to Thunder Bay in 2001, Patrick has appeared regularly with Consortium, is a member of our Board of Directors, and serves on its Marketing Committee. His compositions have been performed throughout North America, including by the San Francisco Symphony.

Patrick Horn has received numerous commissions, including one from Consortium Aurora Borealis for a special Baroque-inspired “La Folia” work, composed in 2017 for our milestone year. This exciting new work premiered at our 40th Anniversary Concert in March 2019 and was received most enthusiastically by the audience!

Most recently, Patrick created an educational and entertaining video, explaining and demonstrating differences between violin and viola, comparing Baroque-style instruments, bows and performance with their modern counterparts. It is available for free viewing through our website.

Please see our concert schedule for more information on our programming and read our artists’ bios. Be sure to join us on Saturday, November 8 and onwards for our next virtual concert, “Viennese String Trios” with music by Schubert and Beethoven.

Tickets will be available on our website before Halloween.

This will be an especially exciting video, since it has been filmed in the Great Hall of Old Fort William Historical Park, which dates to the same year, 1816, as that of our Schubert trio! It will be a real treat to see our musicians performing in that gracious, period setting! Patrick Horn, dressed classily in tails, will say a few words about the music while seated at the formal dining table, elegantly set up, with portraits from the time hung on the wall behind him. The music is glorious, too! Do not miss this!

Very special thanks go out to Robin Smith of Robin Smith & Associates: CIBC Wood Gundy for being our Virtual Concert Season Sponsor!

Here now are violist/composer Patrick Horn’s insights into the music that will be performed in our “Mozart and More” Virtual Concert. We trust that you will find his remarks enlightening and that you will enjoy the performance!

Warmly,
Elizabeth


Mozart entitled his Kegelstatt Trio “Ein Terzett für Klavier, Clarinett und Viola”. What is Kegelstatt, and why is this in the title if it isn’t from Mozart? Firstly, Kegelstatt translates to a place where skittles are played. Skittles are the pins used in a game that predates bowling. Kegelstatt got attached to this trio by Köchel, the man who catalogued all of Mozart’s works in the 1860’s.  Apparently, he gave himself permission to change the title in exchange for the heavy cataloguing work.

Köchel may have gotten the idea to call this work Kegelstatt Trio by its proximity to a composition from 10 days earlier for two horns with the inscription “Wienn den 27.t Jullius 1786 untern Kegelscheiben” (Vienna, 27 July 1786 while playing skittles).

This work is unusual for its trio instrumentation: piano, clarinet, viola. This was the first time that this combination was likely used. So why did Mozart write for this bizarre combination?  Anton Stadler, a sidekick of Mozart’s (whom Mozart nicknamed ‘Notschibinitschibi’, a combination of two words: ‘Notschibi’ meaning a poor booby or miser and ‘Nitschibi’ a young man of follies) was nevertheless an accomplished clarinetist, for whom Mozart wrote his Clarinet Concerto and Clarinet Quintet. Franziska von Jacquin, a piano student of Mozart, gave the premier in her family’s home with Mozart on viola and Stadler on clarinet.

Remember the tail end of the second theme of the first movement, as it will return as the main Rondo theme in the last movement.

Max Bruch’s Eight Pieces, Op. 83 were originally written for clarinet, viola, and piano and were first performed in 1909 in Cologne and Hamburg, with Bruch’s son Max Felix playing the clarinet part. Bruch conceived Eight Pieces as a collection rather than as a cycle, and each piece was published separately. The composer leaves it up to the performers to determine the choice of individual pieces and the assembly of the cycle, and thereby the aggregate result.

We have chosen to perform the following:

1. Andante (A minor)
2. Allegro con moto (B minor)
3. Andante con moto (C minor)
5. Rumänische Melodie (F minor)
7. Allegro vivace (B major)

The Andante serves as Prelude for our set. I wrote at the top of my music the character I was going for in the viola entrance: “A wise man once said…”. The clarinet then picks up where this left off and gives a wise woman’s perspective. Next comes the Allegro con moto, a good old German “Sturm und Drang”, which translates to “storm and stress”. This showcases the turbulent side of Romanticism.

The Andante con moto opens with a powerful duet for viola and piano in C-sharp minor, featuring the first three ascending notes of this scale. The clarinet then plays a calming, contrasting duet with piano that features an ornamented three-note descending scale in A major. The fifth piece in this set is the only one of ours with a title, translated as “Romanian Melody”. It has much in common with gypsy music, but showcases the introverted Romanian gypsy soul instead of that of the extrovert.

The last Bruch piece we will be performing, marked Allegro vivace, is the only one in a major key. It has the character of a scherzo with a very light and playful opening melody, followed by a very heavy piano interruption in the very next phrase. Variations on this light vs. heavy playfulness will be heard throughout.

Our final work in our concert is my new arrangement of Astor Piazzolla’s “La Muerte del Ángel”, for this same trio of instruments. Piazzolla was born in Argentina and was raised in New York. He became a virtuoso bandoneón player and studied composition with Alberto Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger. The writer Alberto Rodriguez Muñoz approached Piazzolla about providing music for a stage play, Tango del Ángel.

This production reached the stage in 1962. It provided three pieces: “Introducción al Ángel”, “Milonga del Ángel”, and “La Muerte del Ángel”. The play is about an angel who appears in a Buenos Aires apartment block to cleanse the souls of its residents. In the third of the set, “La Muerte del Ángel”, the angel dies in a knife fight while trying to save souls. Piazzolla decided to write “Resurrección del Ángel” to soften the blow of the loss of the angel.

I chose to arrange “La Muerte” because it intersects with classical music and with J.S. Bach in particular, through the employment of the fugue structure. We have Bach to thank for bringing court dance music of the 17th and 18th centuries to the concert stage. Piazzolla has done the same for the tango in the 20th century.

Enjoy!

Patrick Horn