La Cafamore rich with variety, wit and charm
By Anne Jardine
La Cafamore Ensemble played a classical concert on June 9 at Christ Church Trinity in Invermere as part of their tenth anniversary tour.
Carolyn Cameron and Angela Snyder played violin and Alexis More played viola. These three form the core of the ensemble, and for this series, they were joined by renowned pianist Nina Horvath who has toured with Cafamore twice before, as well as special guest Maria Wong on cello.
The program included compositions by Dvorak and Mozart, and the pieces were chosen especially to showcase the viola as a central voice in the music. Generally viola is a harmony instrument, hidden in its often mellow, middle-of-the-music role – supporting the soaring violin part and the deep, resonant cello part. But in this concert, the viola came out as a feature instrument. In the Dvorak Bagatelles, and in the quintet finale, the viola took a lead role, played by Alexis More.
The Mozart Sinfonia Concertante, the concert’s centerpiece, was a violin-viola duet, with Ms Snyder enthusiastically and ably taking on the viola part, her sister Ms Cameron on violin. Their sibling rivalry and love were evident as they swapped melodic themes and wove intricate Mozart harmonies over the orchestral piano accompaniment played by Ms Horvath. Ms Snyder boldly revealed the beauties of the viola’s line, which gave these Bagatelles their unique flair.
Dvorak’s music opened and closed the concert.
The Opus 81 Qunitet with its four movements was a perfectly balanced choice to show off the superb abilities of all five musicians. Cellist Maria Wang played with strength and grace. Alexis More gave wonderful voice to her viola. The violin sisters, with Ms Snyder back on second violin and Ms Cameron on first violin, both delivered the descant in the melodic stratosphere.
Nina Horvath’s strong piano drove the rhythms and laid down the structure and pace. Each movement had its moods, starting with the quick “Allegro na mon tanto” which was a kind of dialogue between the dignified cello and sprightly viola. The ‘Dumka,’ based on a Czek folk dance, started slow and then became bouncy as the violins and viola played leap-frog with the piano.
The ‘Scherzo,’ based on Bohemian folk dance style whirled with wild energy. The fourth movement, the ‘Finale’ with its quick pace was less frantic and more uplifting.
The whole Quintet was rich with variety, wit, and charm. The ensemble bowed to a standing ovation. For their encore, they played the Cuccini ‘Ave Maria’ featuring Maria Wang’s wonderful cello.
La Cafamore will be returning in late July with a new offering ‘Dancing Through the Seasons’ featuring pianist Nina Horvath and dancer Paige Culley.
They’ll be playing and dancing in Rossland July 24, Kimberley July 25 and Invermere July 26.
Lead image: The La Cafamore Ensemble stop for a photo following their Invermere show. Anne Jardine Photo