Monday, October 05, 2009

French Four-Hand Piano Music at Brighton Allston Congregational Church

In the last couple of years, nearly nightly blues and jazz at Smoken' Joe's BBQ restaurant has been a welcome addition to Brighton Center's otherwise mostly quiet music scene -- which was pretty much just the bands and Irish play-alongs (Seissun) at the Green Briar Pub. But fans of more traditional classical music, or world music, were mostly out of luck.

Last year the Brighton Allston Congregational Church began an eclectic monthly series of music concerts, selected in order to highlight the diversity of its congregants and the community. Their concerts serve as a Brighton mirror to the irregular series of events held in North Allston at the Honan Allston Public Library's auditorium.

The BACC is known around Brighton Center for their Wednesday and Saturday thrift shop, Wednesday night community supper, Saturday food pantry, and church bell that tolls hourly -- but often gets out-of-whack, such as how it presently is tolling at eight minutes past every hour.

I've intended for quite some time to drop by the new BACC concert series, but my schedule just never seemed to match theirs -- until last Sunday afternoon, when I was treated to some four-hand French piano music played by Bert Yocom and Linda Papatopoli, faculty members at the Boston Conservatory and Boston College, respectively.

The first half of the program with Maurice Ravel's magical transcription of Claude Debussy's Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun (originally for orchestra) and Francois Poulenc's Sonata. That the duo have been playing together for nearly a decade showed in their well-choreographed hand-crossing in the the Prelude and first movement of the Sonata.

The second half of the program brought an obscure suite by Erik Satie having far more than three pieces -- but peculiarly named "Three Pieces in the Form of a Pear" -- and the far-better known Dolly Suite of Gabriel Faure. The playful Satie evoked a number of giggles from the audience, while the more lush romantic feel of the Faure flowed naturally and freely throughout.

While the program skipped over Darius Milhaud (he only wrote one work for four-hands), his student Pierre Max Dubois was represented in the encore with three pieces (Pleasantry, Mazurka, and Waltz) that evoked Jacques Ibert's light music.

Next month's event won't be music per se, but will feature poetry read by Boston Poet Laureate Sam Cornish, a resident of Brighton. I haven't yet figured out the date of the event, since the organizers seem to be experimenting with the optimal day and time of the week in order to draw the best crowds.

The BACC is not charging admission to their concert series, but has a suggested donation based on what concert-goers can attend. The money raised is going towards renovations of their basement which holds a community supper every Wednesday night at 6 pm. More happenings are listed at their blog.

Image of Piano by Isa provided through a Creative Commons license.

No comments: