Cellist Diana Golden
Diana Golden was with us for a week in mid-October, her retreat focused on preparing repertoire for doctoral program applications in the NYC area. She recorded J.S. Bach’s Suite No. 5 in C Minor (unaccompanied) with the assistance of recording engineer Dan Czernecki. Dan won a Grammy for Best Classical Album, 2011 (Brazilian Guitar Quartet). We are pleased to report that both Diana and Dan loved the acoustics of the music room at Harvey’s Cottage! Diana also gave an informal lecture-performance on her Bach Suite for a group of 40 at Weatherwatch Farm. It was clear in her mastery of the music and her understanding of the history of Bach and his period – as well as by her engaging manner - that Diana will be a superb addition to the music faculty at a fine institution.
Alchemy Winds (flutist Tia Roper and oboist Megan Marolf) were with us the last two weeks of August. Their project was to record their first full-length CD. They rehearsed intensively before and in between two full-day sessions with sound engineer extraordinaire Joel Hurd of North Country Public Radio. These young ladies know how to work hard and play hard! They managed to fit in a couple day-trips to explore nearby Burlington (VT) and Montreal. Friends invited us for an afternoon at “camp” – the quintessential Adirondack experience on a pristine lake with swimming, boating, and wining & dining under a cloudless sky. Tia and Megan also delivered an exquisite house-concert, attended by 50+ friends who eagerly await the release of the CD. Stay tuned!
Vassily Primakov & Natalia Lavrova
Natalia Lavrova and Vassily Primakov were with us for ten days preparing for their next recording, a program for one-piano four-hands: Mozart’s Sonata in D Major, K. 381; John Corigliano’s Gazebo Dances (1972); Schubert’s Allegro in A Minor, D. 947, “Lebenssturme” and Fantasie in F Minor, D. 940; and Arensky’s Grand Sonata in F Minor, Op. 178. They performed the entire program - a stunning tour de force – to a rapt audience at Weatherwatch Farm. We eagerly await the release of this new disc!
Jonathan and Susan Aceto
Jonathan Aceto, known so well to us as a fine violinist (with two previous Hill and Hollow concerts in 1998 and 2005), used his artist retreat to hone his viola skills. He prepared and performed a full program for viola, to be reprised in Maine and at Georgia Southern University, where he has served on the faculty for 12 years. The principal featured work was a transcription of J. S. Bach’s 3rd Suite for Cello in D Major, an eternal masterpiece. Jonathan’s brilliant idea (and it worked beautifully!) was to separate the movements out and juxtapose them with works from other periods. Those works included movements from Schubert’s Sonata for Arpeggione and Piano (1824), Rebecca Clarke’s Viola Sonata (1919), and Alan Hovhaness’s Chahagir (1944). The excellent pianist Susan Aceto, Jonathan’s mother, partnered him on a portion of the program – the Schubert and Clarke. The audience demanded an encore and Jonathan obliged with Jay Ungar’s Ashokan Farewell. Here is a link to view a bit of the concert, which took place on June 29 at the Saranac Methodist Church. http://www.youtube.com/user/MusicApAceto
During his residency Jonathan also performed a special generous act in leading an intensive two-day string workshop for players of all ages and abilities – there were 11 participants from Champlain to Crown Point and from Lake Placid to Plattsburgh – a large geographical area! String programs in our schools are an endangered species, making Jonathan’s service all the more precious to our community.
Natalia Lavrova and Vassily Primakov typically perform two-piano repertoire, but they used their February retreat to dip into the wealth of the music written for one piano, four hands. After a few days’ exploration, they chose two immense works on which to focus: Czerny’s Grand Sonata in F minor, Op. 178; and Milhaud’s Le Boeuf sur le toit, Op. 58 (The Ox on the Roof), a surrealist ballet score based on Brazilian popular music.
At the conclusion of the week they shared both works with us in an informal concert at Weatherwatch Farm. But before launching into them they warmed up with a “trifle”–Mozart’s Sonata in C Major, K. 521! Wouldn’t you know the only significant snowstorm of an otherwise benign winter occurred the day of their house-concert. The “hearty forty” who braved the elements were rewarded with an amazing and intimate performance displaying the highest level of technique and artistry and the greatest depth of inquiry and feeling. What an honor to have these extraordinarily talented, incredibly lovely artists with us.
Footnote: We attended Vassily’s solo concert on UVM’s Lane Series in mid-April, a formidable performance for a packed house. It was a special surprise when Natalia joined Vassily on-stage for an encore: Le Boeuf sur le toit, which they had prepared during their Hill and Hollow Music retreat. At the post-concert reception the duo was immediately engaged for next season–wow, one doesn’t see something like that every day!
Two fascinating ensembles came to us in October and November. Both house concerts exceeded our expectations in terms of quality, diversity, audience appeal, and attendance.
Alash from Tuva in Central Asia, on an extended tour of North America, stayed with us five days in a community residency for which we partnered with Northern Adirondack Central School and SUNY Plattsburgh. The quartet of master throat-singers, who also play an array of indigenous string and percussion instruments, consistently wowed everyone in their performances and workshops.
Folklassics Duo blew into Saranac on a mini-tour of Vermont and the northern Adirondacks. The unlikely partnership of accordion (Jeremiah McLane) and classical piano (Annemieke Spoelstra) proved very surprising and successful in its high degree of refinement and total charm. Their program featured treatments of international folk music by eminent classical composers, including Bartok, Granados, Hovhaness, Piazzola, and Satie, as well as a poignant original composition by Jeremiah McLane.
Spring and Summer Soirées at Weatherwatch Farm offered a full spectrum of music genres: classical, international folk, and traditional Americana, all peppered with a jazzy dashes of improvisational flair. From May through August informal performances were given by:
The Russian Duo (balalaika virtuoso Oleg Kruglyakov and pianist Terry Boyarsky),
solo pianist and improviser extraordinaire Jacqueline Schwab,
violinist Sarah Whitney
and pianist Natalia Lavrova,
fiddler Lissa Schneckenburger and guitarist Bethany Waickman,
The Elegua Duo (cellist Ginevra Ventre and pianist Claire Black).
While programming ran the gamut, the level of artistry was uniformly high. Attendance was at capacity with many regulars and a good sprinkling of new friends who are just discovering us.
The Garden Party Benefit at Rainbow Lake was over the top! Don and Yvonne Busch were extravagant hosts, welcoming two hundred friends to Entayant. Yes, 200! With the extensive and varied layout of the place, a gourmet menu of food and wine, and a delightful performance by Adirondack Brass, it was truly “pleasure for all the senses.” A big thank you to all who supported this benefit. We banked a tidy little sum — enough to launch our new project, the Northern Adirondack Vocal Ensemble (NAVE). To view a musical slide show of the Entayant Garden Party with Adirondack Brass performance, click on the following link: Entayant — Hill & Hollow Benefit 8-21-11
Forte Duo performing an informal house concert at Weatherwatch Farm
The Forte Duo – superb Russian violinist Artur Kaganovskiy and Hungarian violist Eszter Szilveszter – were in residence with us December 6-12. Their project was to record core repertoire for violin-viola duo: works of J.S. Bach, Handel, Pleyel, and Mozart. Our good friend, Adirondack sound technician extraordinaire, Les Parker transformed the spacious music room at Harvey’s Cottage into a practical recording studio. For four solid days they holed up and laid it all down!
Artur and Eszter with composer Peter Kelsh and recording engineer Les Parker
Composer Peter Kelsh had a parallel retreat the same week to focus on his current works-in-progress. He also wrote a short work for the duo, Hill and Hollow Hoe-Down, which was enthusiastically received by them, intensively rehearsed, performed at the soirée, and ultimately included in the recording. Program notes have been commissioned from musicologist David Ossenkop. If all goes according to plan, a wonderful CD will be produced and should be available to the public by May – we’ll keep you posted!
Forte Duo in Saranac Elementary School
In addition to the recording project, The Forte Duo spent a day in the Saranac Elementary School to give children in grades K-5 their first taste of live classical string music “up close and personal.” Forte Duo also performed a beautiful, intimate house concert at Weatherwatch Farm for around 50 chamber music enthusiasts, which was followed by a delicious buffet supper – a most convivial evening was enjoyed by all!
Pianist Susan Aceto (bio below) performed an intimate concert at Weatherwatch Farm on Thursday September 16, the first of a series of inaugural events to launch our new Rural Retreat Program. Thirty of our most staunch supporters came out on a rainy evening to learn more about our hopes and plans and to enjoy a truly delightful performance by our dear friend. Susan’s program was:
J.S. Bach: Aria and first Variation from Goldberg Variations
W.A. Mozart: Rondo in D major (1786)
R. Schumann: Romance Op. 28, no. 2 in F sharp major
F. Chopin: Mazurkas Op 6, nos. 1, 2, and 3
Chopin: Nocturne Op 27, no. 1 in C sharp minor
Susan Aceto (née Johnson) is known and loved by many in the North Country because she grew up in Plattsburgh – her family has deep roots here, and several sibs still live and work in the area. She attended the Crane School of Music for her undergraduate degree in music and then went on to Eastman and McGill for graduate studies in piano and chamber music. Her talent, combined with her marriage to Tom Aceto, has given her a fascinating life. Tom, having served as vice president under Joseph Burke at SUNY Plattsburgh, moved upward in the administration of higher education in the state university systems of Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and New York. He capped his career with a stellar tenure as president of the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, for which he was awarded an honorary doctorate by Williams College.
Susan kept up with the rigorous demands of her art through many relocations, always teaching and performing while raising their two lovely sons, Jeff and Jonathan. Ultimately she taught piano and chamber music at Williams College, and directed the Smith House Concerts series at the Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts. Now Susan and Tom divide their year between Arizona and Maine. Since she does not actively pursue a performance career, we value her rare appearances all the more….