“Cellos and The Unanswered Question” is one of those mystifying concert titles guaranteed to be an eyebrow-raiser. What could it mean?
“I’m embarrassed to say it doesn’t really mean anything,” says William Berry, “except that the concert features lots of cellos and includes the piece by Charles Ives called ‘The Unanswered Question.’ “
Berry and 12 of his colleagues on the faculty of Holy Names Music Center will be joined by eight other Spokane musicians in a concert with the aforementioned title Friday at the Davenport Hotel. “Cellos and The Unanswered Question” is a fund-raiser for the scholarship program at Holy Names. Friday’s program will include works by Bohuslav Martinu, Charles Ives and Heitor Villa Lobos. An optional gourmet dinner for partons will be catered by Tana Rekofke.
Berry, a fellow correspondent for this newspaper when not teaching at Holy Names or performing as a member of the Spokane Symphony, is the music director of the event.
“Three years ago,” Berry says, “the faculty at Holy Names decided to give a performance to raise money to offer financial aid to deserving students. We’ve continued this, and we hope it’s become something of a tradition.”
Friday’s program will open with Martinu’s Piano Quartet No. 1 and also includes Ives’ “The Unanswered Question,” Villa Lobos’ “Jet Whistle” for flute and cello, a movement from “Bachiana Brasilera” No. 1 and the famous Aria from “Bachiana Brasilera” No. 1.
“I asked my colleagues what music they’d love to do but asked them that they pick something that we wouldn’t be likely to hear on one of the other performance series in Spokane,” Berry says. “I wanted to do 20th-century music, and the music we finally chose is American in one way or another.”
Even though Martinu is Czech, his Piano Quartet was written in the United States after Martinu moved here at the beginning of World War II. Villa Lobos was Brazilian whose music has been heard with greater frequency in Spokane since Fabio Mechetti, music director of the Spokane Symphony, is also Brazilian.
“Villa Lobos’ ‘Bachianas Brasileras’ are not all that unusual, but it’s been a long time since they’ve been heard here,” Berry says. “And I don’t think ‘Jet Whistle’ has ever been done in Spokane. Bruce Bodden heard the piece at a flute convention and said that people left the concert smiling at its virtuosity. We hope they will here, too.”
Berry confesses that the one piece he did pick out, “The Unanswered Question,” is a work especially suited to the performing space in the Davenport lobby. It calls for a solo trumpet, group of strings and a group of flutes. The selection was not merely because he is a trumpet player, Berry claims. “Ives suggested that the flutes be placed in the arena with the audience, the strings at a medium distance and the trumpet at a greater distance. The Davenport’s balconies provide all kinds of possibilities for this kind of placement.”
In addition to the optional dinner, dessert is also on the program and will be served to all concert-goers at intermission.
, DataTimes MEMO: This sidebar appeared with the story: BENEFIT The Holy Names Scholarship Dinner and Concert will be at the Davenport Hotel on Friday, with dinner at 6:30 p.m. and the concert at 8. Tickets are $75 for the dinner and concert, or $25 ($7 students) for the concert only, available at Holy Names Music Center (326-9516) and at G&B; Select-a-Seat outlets (800) 325-SEAT.
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