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THUNDER BAY, ON  ----   August 20, 2011   ---   Eight years ago, fresh from a conservatory school in Evegueni Tchougounov  and Erin Brophythe States, Erin Brophey came to Thunder Bay, Ontario as the new oboist for the Thunder Bay Symphony Orcherstra. Together with Evegueni Tchougounov at the piano they produced a brilliant recital at St. Andrew’s Presbyterian Church on Brodie Street.

I love summer recitals, one reason being there is not a lot of classical repertoire being played during the summer months and I appreciate a dose of culture in the summer. A better reason to enjoy a summer recital is the performances are planned by the musicians and in this case Erin Brophey played a programme of music which is close to her heart. Her recital was a reflection on the things she likes about Thunder Bay.  Erin has reason to reflect on her time in the city for this fall she will take up a new position as principal oboist in the city of Saskatoon.

I loved the entire programme, every piece seemed to fit in well, at least 300 years of writing for the oboe and English horn was represented in this programme.  From the opening Telemann Sonata I knew at once that these were two talented musicians at the top of their game. While not played on original instruments, Evegueni made the piano arrangement sound as though it was the only arrangement ever written for this piece. His prowess at the piano became evident in the “Temporal Variations” by Benjamin Britten, “Intimations” by Aris Carastathis and especially the piano reduction of the orchestra part for the Mozart “Oboe Concerto in C Major”.

This recital brought all the personality, colour and character of Erin Brophey. Talent is only part of the package, and with eight years of experience in one of the countries busiest orchestras she has developed into a fabulous musician. I enjoyed her comments on the music she loves to play. Erin speaks clearlyl and communicates well with the audience. This will be a big asset for her if she decides to make university life a part of her career in her new city Saskatoon. Indeed Thunder Bay’s loss will be Saskatoon’s gain, but next season there will be a new oboist sitting beside veteran principal player Colleen Gibson. I suspect Erin will be back for visits in the coming year.

The level of accomplishment of both musicians created a special chemistry on stage that we seldom see. I think both players were inspired by the abilities of the other. It did not seem to matter how difficult the music was, they shared the pleasure of making music happen at the highest level.

Another musician was present at this concert as well. Aris Carastathis was in the audience. This recital presented him with the rare opportunity to hear a professional performance his piece “Intimations”. In my opinion his composition held up well with the other major works for oboe on this programme. Writing music it seems is still the most under paid and underappreciated aspects of professional music making. It is good that we have this kind of talent in our city.

Up Coming Recitals

There are some recitals you may want to mark on your Calendar for the month of September.
Saturday September 17 2011  7:30 pm  Organ Recital at St. Paul’s United by organists Bert Rowson, Liam Curran, the last three selections will be music for strings and organ. Admission $10.00

Friday September 23rd  RCCO organ recital also at St. Paul’s United Church. Further details to follow.

Saturday September 24th, Consortium Aurora Borealis Concert Season begins. At St. Paul’s United Church a programme of romantic piano works featuring pianists Heather Morrison, Evegueni Tchougounov and Derek Oger.

Bert Rowson
Arts Editor: Lake Superior New

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