Margaret Askeland and Dick Bauch share MCO memories (Chronic Creative)
The Manitoba Chamber Orchestra is celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. Festivities begin September 12 with a concert of exotic music featuring superstar Armenian-Canadian soprano Isabel Bayrakdarian.
SCENE asked two long-standing members of the MCO, cellist Margaret Askeland and violist Richard Bauch to share some memories.
What do you remember from your first MCO concert?
Margaret Askeland: Although I don't remember when I first played with the MCO, I know it was more than 33 years ago. What I do remember is the nervousness I felt at being in such a small section and knowing that I would be somewhat more exposed than in a section of seven.
You play in MCO and WSO. How is it different playing in a chamber orchestra vs. a full sized orchestra?
Richard Bauch: Because of the smaller size of the MCO ensemble, the texture of the music is much more transparent, so each musician can be heard more easily. Often the music the MCO plays is written for strings alone, requiring each musician to play more soloistically.
Over those years, can you think of one concert that stands out?
MA: One of my favourite concerts was a small group night several years ago when the 'cello section was featured. The four of us plus some guests presented a program of 'cello ensemble music, including Bachianas Brasileiras No. 5 by Villa-Lobos. Measha Brueggergosman was the soprano. It was a mesmerizing performance!
Can you recall a particularly funny or odd moment that has stayed with you?
RB: Elsie Chrunyk and I were sharing a stand during a rehearsal with Simon Streatfeild, when I leaned forward to correct a bowing in our music, lost my balance, and fell forward on my knees with my chair pinning the back of my legs to the floor.