ChamberBest 2009

August 8, 2009

            As we approach the time for the closing gala concert of Chamberfest 2009, I wanted to put down a few thoughts about what the festival has meant to me this year.

            The traditional definition of chamber music is music composed for a small group of musicians which would fit in a palace chamber and be performed in an intimate setting. For me, the short description that I think fits it best is “music between friends”. From a performer’s perspective, while solo work is thrilling, and orchestral is epic, chamber music has a different charm of its own with perhaps greater personal value. Being in such a small ensemble of musicians creates opportunities to develop relationships with the other musicians on a different level, giving you a better appreciation for their skills and their personality. There is a different kind of sharing that takes place, and there is more of a balance in the roles that everyone plays. The music itself benefits greatly from the mutual understanding and greater connection between the musicians. These are the reasons why I love chamber music.

            When I watch chamber groups perform, I am particularly looking for the ties that bind the musicians, their abilities to be sensitive to one another and to create something that has a feeling of spontaneity and heartfelt musicality. Equally important for me is the ability of the chamber group to share this connection with the audience and draw them into the music they create. During the festival, many of the venues were quite large and filled with hundreds of people, and what stood out for me were moments when you could hear a pin drop as everyone was so focused on the ensemble in front of them. For the past two weeks I have feasted on the offerings brought to Chamberfest’s varied stages, and have sampled everything from Baroque to Electroacoustic, digressing into traditional folk flavours and instruments as varied as the cimbalom and border pipes to the harpsichord and organ. I’ve listened to music inspired by the writings of Poe, Canadian poets, and drawn from biblical Psalms. I’ve been on the stage and watching the stage, and I’ve sat in on productions aimed at the newborn to the “not born yesterday”.

             As I prepare to go to the Gala on this final night, I only wish there were more performances for me to enjoy. This has been a fantastic experience in which I have expanded my musical knowledge and I feel personally inspired. Fifty weeks is a long time to wait for next year’s festival, but completely worth it.

Lindsay Bryden, flutist

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