Pushing the Geographic Boundaries of Chamber Music

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Saturday, March 11, 2017

Vincent Segal & Ballake Sissoko Vincent Segal & Ballake Sissoko (Pierre Emmanuel Rastoin)

When you hear the words “chamber music,” do you immediately think of a string quartet? (Or possibly a nap?) You probably don’t think of the harp, although Debussy wrote a beautiful sonata for harp, flute and viola. And you almost certainly don’t think of the kora, the 21-string troubadour harp from Mali.

But in 2010, the Malian kora player Ballake Sissoko released an album of duets with the French cellist Vincent Segal, to surprisingly strong acclaim. The album's title was Chamber Music. And you know what? It was intimate, elegant and it was played with one musician per part — the very definition of “chamber music.” 

This time on The Furthermore, we push the boundaries of chamber music a bit further, with violins, viola and cello, of course, but also with string instruments like the Japanese koto, the Chinese zhong ruan and perhaps most unlikely of all, the American pedal steel guitar.

Program playlist:

Debussy: Sonata for Flute, Viola and Harp, second movement
Tre Voci

Ballake Sissoko & Vincent Segal: Mako Mady
Ballake Sissoko, kora; Vincent Segal, cello

John Dowland: Lachrymae Antiquae
Kronos Quartet, strings; Wu Man, zhong ruan and da ruan

Daron Hagen: Koto Concerto, Genji, second movement
Yumi Kurosawa, koto; Orchestra Of The Swan

Vivaldi: Mandolin Concerto, RV 425, second movement
Aimee Auriacombe, mandolin; Toulouse Chamber Orchestra; Louis Auriacombe, conductor

Sasha Matson: Steel Chords, third movement, Steel Dances
Doug Livingston, pedal steel guitar; string ensemble

Tunde Jegede: Caravans Of Gold
Tunde Jegede, cellos, kora

Trad. Mali/arr. Derek Gripper: Jarabi
Derek Gripper, classical guitar

Catrin Finch & Sekou Keita: Ceffylau
Catrin Finch, harp; Sekou Keita, kora

Comments [4]

Dexter from Tucson, Arizona

Very interesting program. First time I've listened to The Furthermore. Streaming WQXR. But.......

That Matson/Livingston piece? Hmmm.... Part of what I call "contemporary crap." Hardly "music" at all. I can understand why you've not seen others like it!!!

But otherwise, VERY interesting. Rest of the program, superb. And educational, which after all is the point. Without being overbearing. I learned a lot. Kudos.

Mar. 15 2017 10:59 PM
Graciela from Manhattan

My favorite program.

Mar. 11 2017 09:59 PM

I'm really liking these last two pieces -- Derek Gripper and Catrin Finch & Sekou Keita -- both so peaceful, but with an active line. Looking them up on iTunes.

Mar. 11 2017 09:59 PM
PAUL cooper from Elizabeth, NJ

chamber music it sounds nice

Mar. 11 2017 09:20 PM

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