Sweeping in from the Mid-West, Chicago-based Axiom String Quintet brought Impromptu Classical Concerts 2016 season to a highly successful conclusion. The Quintet – Dorival Puccini, Jr. & Kristofer Hammond, Trumpets; Jacob DiEdwardo, Horn; Serdar Cizmeci, Trombone; Kevin Harrison, Tuba – offered an eclectic program which ranged from Elizabethan Dances (Holborne), Bach Fugues, contemporary selections (Hillborg, McLoskey), and concluded with a near-mandatory, and always welcome inclusion in every au courant chamber music ensemble’s repertoire – a fiery Nuevo Tango piece by Brazilian composer Astor Piazzolla,
Witold Lutoslawski’s difficult, albeit playful “Mini Overture” opened the program. “The combination of texture and color creates the melody”, Puccinni, Jr. helpfully noted. Anthony Holborne’s Renaissance “Elizabethan Dance Suite” was notable for its stately “Pavan” and lively “Muy Linda”. Three Bach Fugues, “Contrapuntus” VII, III, IX, followed. Noted composer, pianist, (and accomplished sculptor), Bill Lorraine admired the Fugues’ intricate composition: “The instruments’ individual notes cross over each other. When they cross, they create a chord.”
Malcolm Arnold’s “Quintet for Brass, Opus 73” ended the first half of the program. The third movement – “Con Moto” – lived up to its description by Mr. Harrison: “Fireworks in triple time, a dogfight among the instruments”. The second half of the program opened with another “Brass Quintet”, an atmospheric, somewhat dissonant piece by “living” Swedish composer Anders Hillborg. Lansing McLoskey’s edgy “the maddening crowd” provided solos for each instrument in a dream-like reverie featuring “rain drop like moments” and a pop-inspired “Jimmy Hendricks-like solo” played on… the tuba! Piazzolla’s “Oblivion” provided an uptempo ending to the program.
The Axiom Brass Quintet’s bright sound and first-rate musicianship delighted the enthusiastic audience at St. Paul’s Church. Impromptu Classical Concerts concluded its 44th season on a bright note, indeed.