|Cellists Cécilia Tsan and Eric Byers.|
"Travels With 2 Cellos": Mount Wilson Observatory
The cello is probably the closest to the human voice of all the instruments in the orchestra. In this program, with cellists Cécilia Tsan and Eric Byers, those voices lifted us closer to the stars, in the shadow of the great telescope at Mount Wilson, where the universe was discovered.
This series at the Mount Wilson Observatory, called Concerts in the Dome (curated by Cécilia Tsan), is in its third season and has quickly become one of the more coveted venues for the classical music world in Los Angeles. There were two performances—at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.—and both were sold out.
|The great 100-inch telescope Dome at Mount Wilson.|
|Luigi Boccherini (1743-1805).|
|Sold-out crowd for both performances.|
|Offenbach as a young |
A nice contrast in the program was provided by the film composer, Bear McCreary, who transcribed his moving main title music, from the film “The Professor and the Madman,” for two cellos. This piece offered an elegant exchange of moods layered on an emotional tapestry.
|Enthusiastic applause for Tsan and Byers.|
The highlight of this concert was a transcription of the famous Chaconne from Bach's Violin Partita No. 2 in D minor BWV 1004. So familiar is the Chaconne on the violin that it took a moment to understand that this masterpiece works equally well in this arrangement by Claudio Jaffe and Johanne Perron, for two cellos.
|Bach at age 61 in 1746, painted by|
Elias Gottlob Haussmann.
When the Chaconne began, everyone knew that a special journey was under way and, filling the famous telescope Dome—a cathedral of science—the music echoed our spiritual quest to grasp the heavens. Formally a theme and variations, the Chaconne unfolds... and then keeps on unfolding. As Chopin said, “Bach is like an astronomer who, with the help of ciphers, finds the most wonderful stars.” Just when you think he has finished a particularly intriguing exploration, he takes you into yet another realm and then another, each time returning us safely to the grand opening theme. Tsan and Byers delivered the best of what Bach can be and transported us that much closer to the most wonderful stars.
100-Inch Telescope Dome, Mount Wilson Observatory, Sunday 1 September 2019, 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.
Images: Photos: Todd Mason; Barriére: last.fm; Boccherini: Wikimedia Commons; Offenbach: Wikimedia Commons; Bach: Wikimedia Commons.
Next up at Mount Wilson is the last concert of this year’s series featuring an accomplished roster of French musicians:
Sunday, October 6: Clarinet Quintets by Mozart and Brahms, played by Pierre Génisson (clarinet), Ambroise Aubrun and Henry Gronnier (violins), Virginie d’Avezac (viola), and Cécilia Tsan (cello). Tickets for the 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. performances for each are available here. Don’t miss out!