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Monday, June 27, 2011

Chamber Music

The first concert I ever went to was at the Music Room (the K-W Chamber Music Society) in October of 2008. I had recently taken an interest in classical music, and my friend, Lois, treated me to a series of concerts. The Aviv String Quartet was performing all 15 of Shostakovich's String Quartets. I had never seen (or heard-Shostakovich is pretty insane/dark) anything like it before. It was fascinating to watch them play their instruments, especially the cello, fingers dancing frantically over the strings.

Concerts at the Music Room are held in the living room on the upper floor of the organizers' own house. It is a lovely atmosphere. It seats about 85 people, positioned around the floor space accorded to the musicians. The audience is just feet away from the performers -the way chamber music is meant to be played. The room is high-ceilinged, with wood beams, a fireplace faced with cobblestone, and various interesting artworks.

After the last concert of the Shostakovich cycle, a party was held at the house of my friend Leslie's boyfriend (she usually helps set things up). This was also coincidentally my first real party. I was able to meet the musicians -all very nice people, especially the cellist, Rachel Mercer.

I have been back for many concerts since then. They manage to hold some world-class performers. Till Fellner, an amazing pianist from Austria, came a number of times to play all of Beethoven's sonatas. I made sure to be there when he played Sonata No.23 'Appassionata', my favourite piece of classical music (thanks to Anne Rice, who inspired me to listen to it due to the large part it played in 'The Vampire Armand'). It is such a tempestuous work, and hearing it live was exhilarating; my heart was pounding.

I also try to go any time Rachel Mercer is there. In 2009 she won the privilege from the Canada Council to play the 1696 'Bonjour' Stradivarius cello for 3 years (it is insured for nearly $8 million). I saw her play in early 2010, and she let me touch it!

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