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Trio opens Veridian Symphony season
Musicians dedicate concert series to Joaquina Johnson
'Conflict and Resolution: Exploring the Variety of the Piano Trio'
Presented by Veridian Symphony
TIMES: 7 p.m. Saturday; 4 p.m. Sunday
WHERE: First Lutheran Church, 850 Cooper Ave., Yuba City
TICKETS: $20 general; $15 seniors, students; $5 children
The Veridian Symphony opens its new season with a two-part concert series, "Conflict and Resolution: Exploring the Variety of the Piano Trio."
The Piano Trio includes Helen Graham, violin; Rebekah Hood, cello; and Marina Swales, piano.
"The three of us really enjoy working together," Graham said. "Rebekah and I knew each other when we started, but I didn't know Marina at all. We have really come to know each other and bond through music and become really good friends."
The concerts — and, in particular, the piece "Elegie" by Arno Babajian — are dedicated to the memory of Joaquina Johnson, Graham said.
"We just wanted to say thank you to her for everything that she taught us. We had a lot of fun working with her. She was a great musician and a great conductor, and she really had a fun spirit in all of our concerts that we did together.
"So we are going to miss her a lot."
Graham said an elegie is a tribute to someone who has died.
"Our pianist told us a story about her grandmother who was near the end of her life when our pianist was really little. She had this moment where she saw her grandmother sitting at the kitchen table with this light behind her, and she said it was so beautiful but at the same time so sad because she knew her grandmother was going to be passing soon."
Graham said that Swales' story reminded them of the "Elegie" "because Joaquina was so beautiful, but at the same her sickness and her death were so tragic. The 'Elegie' is a tough combination of the two feelings, but it's a really beautiful piece, and we felt like she would have loved it."
Graham said most of the other pieces are more lighthearted.
"The first piece that we are doing, 'Trio Sonata' by J.M. Leclair, has some dance-like qualities, and it's really light. It's typical baroque style. It was actually written for violin, flute and harpsichord, but we are playing it on violin, cello and piano, so it's a little bit tricky for us. But it's really nice, and it has a beautiful slow movement in the middle that I particularly enjoy," she said.
The second piece is "Andante con motto in C minor" by Edvard Grieg. "The Grieg is a pretty serious piece, but it's also hopeful," Graham said.
The third piece is "Hungarian Dance No. 6" by Johannes Brahms. "The Brahms is a really stark contrast to the Grieg. It's super happy because it's a dance. Happy and lively and fast."
Graham said the fourth piece will be the "Elegie," followed by an intermission. After the intermission, "Trio No. 4 in E minor, 'Dumky,'" by Antonin Dvorak will complete the program.
"This one has six movements, so it takes you through a wide range of emotions and a journey. There are a couple of slow movements that are really beautiful and have kind of a 'time stands still' feeling — a little bit meditative," Graham said.
"The fast movements are also dance-like, similar to the Leclair. It just has a wide range of emotions, from playful to absolutely stunning, beautiful and slow to serious and passionate. It's pretty much every emotion that you can experience in one piece of music," she said.
The performances are set for 7 p.m. Saturday and 4 p.m. Sunday at First Lutheran Church in Yuba City. "Come to experience a journey from lighthearted dance movements to heartbreakingly beautiful melodies," Graham said.