Exquisite Elegance from Patti McCarty and Bill Zito

The viola-guitar (and lute) duo concert of Patricia McCarty and Bill Zito was just as wonderful as we anticipated and more. The live acoustics of the historic Plattsburgh Memorial Chapel suited the instruments beautifully – their delicate sounds wafted bell-like to the back of the intimate hall. A full house of 100 turned out for the program, which included works of Dowland, Telemann, Giuliani, Nin, de Falla, and Granados, as well as some contemporary pieces by Gunter Braun and Robert Sierra. The concert was a collaboration between Hill and Hollow Music and Plattsburgh Memorial Chapel for the benefit of the chapel, with all proceeds going toward the restoration of the chapel’s 1933 original stained-glass windows.

Photo montage by John Eldridge
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Horszowski Trio Stuns and Amazes

The renowned Horszowski Trio more than delivered the goods to a capacity house on Sunday, November 14. We knew this was going to be an extra-special concert and yet it exceeded even our highest expectations. The crowd did not save its standing ovation until the end; several in the audience jumped to their feet at the conclusion of the first piece on the program, Dvorak’s Dumky Trio. From there the excitement built and built through Rebecca Clark’s Piano Trio and Schumann’s ultra-romantic Piano Trio in d minor.

Jesse Mills, violin; Rieko Aizawa, piano; Ole Akahoshi, cello

We waited 21 years for the exquisite pianist Rieko Aizawa to return to us – Rieko performed a solo piano recital on our 5th anniversary series in March, 2000! During the intervening years Rieko has been very active on the international chamber music scene. Her current participation in the Horszowski Trio, along with violinist Jesse Mills and cellist Ole Akahoshi is an all-consuming project. They give their study and performances their all and the result is overwhelmingly exciting and beautiful. This is an ensemble in demand all over the globe and we had them here in Saranac – so thrilled!!

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Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt, four-hands piano

It was overwhelming to be back inside our home venue again for a live concert, after a summer of outdoor concerts – overwhelming in a wonderful way! All the key ingredients were there: superb artists; an exciting program; a great piano; the old country church’s charming atmosphere and fine acoustics; and a full house of keen enthusiasts. The “cherry on top” was the presence of Pulitzer Prize composer Lewis Spratlan, who gave a pre-concert talk about his two works being performed that afternoon, one of which was a premiere.

Pianists Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt with composer Lewis Spratlan

Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt had driven all the way from Tucson, Arizona to fulfill the engagement that had been cancelled twice since the start of the pandemic. During their week’s residency they not only holed up to rehearse for long stretches, but they reached out into the community to give a couple of mini-performances: Lake Forest Senior Living Community and a pop-up concert at the mall. Both were so warmly received.

Muller and Steigerwalt’s big program on Sunday afternoon was truly BIG, with five significant works: Debussy’s Prélude à l’après-midi d’un faune; Mendelssohn’s Andante und Allegro assai vivace, Op. 92; Spratlan’s Dreamworlds and Fantasia; and Ravel’s La Valse. And their playing is BIG, considering their physiques appear rather small and delicate. But they made it look like a mere bagatelle and positively balletic. Their movements were so graceful and in sync, they were mesmerizing to watch and to hear. Fascinating and wonderful concert!

Dana Muller and Gary Steigerwalt
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Cantrip Weaves a Spell with Scottish Traditional Music

Slàinte Mhath!

Amazing concert by Cantrip on Labor Day at Weatherwatch Farm. Again rain played havoc and we gathered snug under the tent for an intimate sharing of some wonderful Celtic music. The guys first seduced us with tales told in their lilting brogue; and then the music poured out of them in song and on fiddle, flutes, guitar, and even bouzouki. Eventually the sun came out and folks were inspired to get up and dance; a Scottish conga line formed and weaved around the back. Great turnout with many newcomers. Slàinte Mhath! (pronounced slange var) in Scots Gaelic that’s “Cheers”!

Alasdair White, fiddle; Dan Houghton, pipes, flutes, bouzouki & vocals; Eric McDonald, guitar & vocals
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Tim Collins Jazz Quintet: A Reunion of Friends

Rain began at showtime and soon became torrential and continued thus unabated for the duration of Sunday’s concert – gadzooks! We had a great crowd nevertheless, with few cancellations and only a few early departures at the half – 125 under the tent – very cozy and intimate. Ah, the vagaries and challenges of show biz during covid!

Tim Collins, vibes; Marcos Varela, bass; Ingrid Jensen, trumpet; Jon Wikan, drums; John Ellis, tenor sax

The Tim Collins Jazz Quintet, an ad hoc ensemble of A-list players (and good old friends from way back) assembled expressly for Hill and Hollow Music, gave two shows, both excellent. Although it was basically the same set-list twice, each performance was quite different and distinctive. Saturday’s drive-in show at Curbside in Plattsburgh featured the extraordinary John Ellis on tenor sax, while Sunday’s show at Weatherwatch Farm featured the superb Ingrid Jensen on trumpet. But of course, everyone got to shine with ample solos: Tim Collins on vibes, Marcos Varela on bass, and Jon Wikan on drums. They played mostly original compositions by Christine Jensen, (Blue Yonder, Swirlaround, Margareta) and Tim Collins (Down the Old Road, North Country, Crazy Cat, The Other Side, Valcour). Great stuff and first rate playing!

Tim Collins Jazz Quintet at the Drive-In “Curbside at Harborside” (Plattsburgh City Stage)

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Mazel Tov Cocktail Party Premiere Performances Explode with Good Vibes and Great Energy!

David Krakauer assembled an international all-star cast of high-octane musicians for his newest band, Mazel Tov Cocktail Party. The project was conceived and developed with his principal collaborator – pianist-composer Kathleen Tagg – in multiple extended Hill and Hollow Music residencies during the pandemic. The ensemble features Krakauer on clarinet, Tagg on keys and cello, Sarah MK on vocals and rap, Yoshie Fruchter on guitar and oud, Jerome Harris on bass and vocals, and Martin Shamoonpour on daf (Middle Eastern hand-drum) and jaw harp. Additionally, layered beats produced by Jeremy Flower and Selwa Abd (aka Bergsonist) are integral to the sound of the band.

Mazel Tov Cocktail Party gave two sensational premiere performances July 17-18: at Plattsburgh’s City Stage, as part of the Curbside at Harborside drive-in concert series; and at Weatherwatch Farm in Saranac, as part of the Hill and Hollow Music summer lawn concert series. The program included contemporary world-music settings by Krakauer and Tagg of the traditional dance forms of polka, square dance, hornpipe, calypso, and hora – infused with klezmer, jazz, rock, and funk. Insane! There were some exquisite quiet moments, too, with transparent renditions of Poor Wayfaring Stranger and Street Singer (Gasn Nign). The band‘s next move is into the recording studio to lay this program down and produce a new CD, which will be released in October 2021. Mazel Tov!

Yoshie Fruchter, David Krakauer, Kathleen Tagg, Martin Shamoonpour, Jerome Harris, Sarah MK (Laura Carbone)
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Shining Performance by Kathryn Sloat

Kathryn Sloat’s harp concert was pure delight. Her program had the theme “Moon and Stars” and was performed outdoors on the lawn of Weatherwatch Farm on a lovely summer solstice evening. It was an adventurous program, challenging and bold, and Kate met its demands with exquisite playing, power, and panache. All the works she chose were composed during the 20th and 21st centuries – some within the most recent decades. Tournier’s “Clair de lune sur l’étang du parc,” Britten’s “Nocturne,” Salzedo’s “Chanson dans la nuit,” Debussy’s “Clair de lune,” Mancini’s “Moon River,” Ruby Aspinall’s Night Dances, Salazar’s “I See Stars in Your Eyes,” and Caroline Lizotte’s Suite Galactique were among the works we heard. The weather cooperated magnificently and we had a fine turnout just shy of 100 – an auspicious beginning for the new concert series! 

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Upcoming in 2021-2022

Thank you for checking in here! Some great live music is coming your way soon!! We have planned several outdoor concerts this summer, and hope to be back in our regular indoor venues by autumn. An exciting array of artists and ensembles will perform a wide variety of music genres: classical and contemporary classical; early music of the renaissance and baroque; Scottish and French-Canadian traditional roots music; and improvisatory jazz, klezmer, and world music.

For schedule, artist, and venue information, please visit the CALENDAR page (click above). Make sure you are on our e-mail list to receive up-to-the-minute concert announcements with more details, possible change of venue or cancellation, and occasional news featuring Hill and Hollow Music artists: To sign up, just scroll down to the bottom of the page OR drop an e-mail to us at ambrown.hillholl@gmail.com. We’ll gladly bring you on board. See you soon in Saranac!

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Virtual House Concert Celebrates CD-Release

Daniel Kelly and Gretchen Koehler perform a virtual house concert at Harvey House

We had three streams over Thanksgiving Weekend of a “virtual house concert” by our favorite Hall of Fame fiddler Gretchen Koehler and her dynamic jazz piano partner Daniel Kelly to celebrate the release of their new CD “Live from Hill and Hollow.” The one-hour concert was filmed at Harvey House, while the CD was recorded in the beautiful acoustics of the historic Saranac Methodist Church, all when Gretchen and Daniel were with us for a whirlwind residency in early October. A brief “Meet the Artists” interview with Gretchen, Daniel, and Angela – plus extra footage and photos from earlier Hill and Hollow concerts – immediately follows the show! You can watch Koehler & Kelly’s concert any time, at your convenience: CLICK HERE!

That’s Russell Feher, sound engineer, sitting behind Angela in the “Meet & Greet” after the concert.
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Great Pianism Up Close and Personal

Israeli pianist Alon Goldstein gave solo recitals at Weatherwatch Farm on three consecutive days.  Because of safety concerns during the pandemic, attendance was limited to only 12 masked guests at each performance. It was truly amazing to have an extremely intimate musical encounter with this powerful artist who has performed in major concert halls around the globe. The programs included J. S. Bach English Suite No. 2 in A minor; Beethoven Sonata in E flat major Op. 27, No. 1 and Sonata in C sharp minor Op.27, No. 2 (Moonlight); Debussy Estampes; Florence Price Sonata in E minor (2nd movement); Bernstein “Masque” from Symphony No. 2; Chopin Scherzo Nos. 1 and 2; Chopin Waltzes Op. 64. For encores Alon played some Scarlatti Keyboard Sonatas that are featured on his latest CD.

Alon was accompanied by his teenage son Matan, who was able to keep up with his online schoolwork during the 10-day residency. Alon spent his days practicing intensively and developing new repertoire. In the afternoons they explored the Adirondacks with scenic drives to Lake George and Lake Placid; hikes around Point au Roche, Silver Lake, and Weatherwatch Farm; and a paddle down the Saranac River. Alon Goldstein is scheduled to return next season to perform Mozart/Lachner Piano Concerti with string quartet and double bass. We hope that by then we will be able to gather again safely in our lovely, spacious venue, the historic Saranac Methodist Church on Route 3.

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