The Bulkley Valley Museum hailed it as The S.S. Titanic Commemorative Concert because the famous luxury liner sank one century prior to the evening’s performance.
Once again the leading musician was Roxanne Dykstra, who rose to prominence as the Solo Viola at last year’s Remembrance Day concert.
Sunday, Roxy was accompanied by four well-known talented musicians, Sharon Carrington on piano, Karen Price on the recorder, as well as Stefan Bichlmaier and Kiri Daust on violin.
Until recently, Stefan and Kiri were known as boys who liked to play fiddle, but now they are musicians with an astonishing mastery of the violin.
The first half of the program consisted of works that may well have been part of the repertoire of the Titanic’s small orchestra, beginning with the allegro of Georg Philipp Telemann’s Fantasie for solo viola no. 1. Roxy, as always, played sans notes with her customary élan.
In Mozart’s Duet for Viola and Violin in G major, Roxy was accompanied by Stefan – while she played Fritz Kreisler’s Liebsleid, as well as Jacques Offenbach’s Barcarolle, from the Tales of Hoffman with Sharon as partner.
Then the duo captivated listeners with The Entertainer, a ragtime number by Scott Joplin, a composer of great renown at the time of the Titanic disaster.
The first half of the performance ended with a lovingly performed harmonious quartet.
The second half of the concert began with J.S. Bach’s Solo Partite, which the Gramophone classical music guide calls, “perhaps the ultimate test of technical mastery, which is most obvious in the great Cello Suite no. 2 in D minor.”
Roxy truly showed her mettle as well as her forte for transcriptions, as she used several instruments not intended for the particular work.
Dealing with the demanding flexibility of 17th century dances, starting with a Prelude and ranging from an Allemande, to a Courante, then a Sarabonde and Minuets 1 and 2 and ending with a Gigue, relying on memory alone, defies description.
That Roxy’s bravura performance captivated the audience is an understatement.
The two final works, both arranged and adapted by Roxy, were inspired by the sinking of the Titanic.
When Roxy, Sharon, and Karen started James Horner’s Hymn to the Sea, the festive aura of the evening changed dramatically.
The feeling of deep sorrow became even more pronounced when Roxy, Kiri and Stefan ended the evening with Lowell Mason’s version of the hymn Nearer, My God, to Thee, played to a gradual dimming of the lights.
The polished performances by the five musicians is an evening not easily forgotten.
Walter Hromatka is a music lover and a contributor for the Interior News.