Bach, Vivaldi, Kreisler Chopin, Bruch – bringing them all together, Blaine Waldbauer of Campbell River and Daniel Dowker have designed a stunning violin piano recital that is both ambitious and delightful.
As founder and concertmaster of the Strathcona Symphony Orchestra and popular teacher of violin, Blaine Walbauer has had little time in recent years to follow what he describes as “the unwritten protocol” or tradition of orchestra concertmasters to perform in a solo recital.
“It’s the opportunity for the concertmaster to demonstrate just why a musician owns that position – has in effect, earned the first chair,” says Walbauer. “Our program pushes some limits and is wonderfully challenging. It is designed to move our audience through the sheer power of the music.”
Audiences are guaranteed to be moved with this program – especially those starved for live chamber music and concerto duets – that opens with Johann Sebastian Bach’s Partita No. 3 in E Major for solo violin that requires masterful bowing technique.
“There are lots of notes in this piece,” says Walbauer, “and every time I play it, I find something new or different to appreciate.
Following the Bach will be two movements from Antonio Vivaldi’s Le quarto stagioni – The Four Seasons – a timeless set of violin concertos composed in 1723. The varied textures of each concerto are a musical reference to the season for which it is named. Walbauer will perform, appropriately, La Primavera (Spring) and L’estate (Summer).
The Vivaldi will be followed by the long lyrical phrases and rich textures of Fritz Kreisler’s Praeludium and Allegro. One of the great standards for violin, the piece was composed in 1918.
Pianist Daniel Dowker’s solo performance of Frédéric Chopin’s Ballade No. 1 in G Minor, Op.23 will highlight this young pianist’s mastery of one of the most challenging pieces in the standard piano repertoire. Chopin is often credited with developing the ballade as a form of music associated with poems. Many of the passages in this work require rapid scale changes and difficult fingerings.
The Blaine Walbauer – Daniel Dowker Violin Piano Recital takes place at St. George’s United Church, Courtenay on Saturday, May 14 at 7 p.m. (Doors open at 6:30.) Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students, and are available at the door. Advance tickets may be purchased at Gotit-Needit-Wantit Musical Instruments, Courtenay (250-338-8807).