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by john cutler

For the Lincoln Journal Star

Lincoln's concert season got under way Friday with the Third Chair Chamber Players presenting a varied bill at the NET studios.

The concert was held in NET's big studio one. Haydn, Dvorak and Edwin York Bowen were the composers on the evening's bill.

Graham House was featured for the Bowen work and the seldom-performed Haydn "Divertimento a tre" in E-flat. This piece was interesting in that the French horn takes both treble solo passages and bass supporting lines in adjacent phrases.

House's intonation was secure and stable across the wide pitch range. Add to that his ability to negotiate the huge jumps quickly with good placement, and it turned out to be quite the crowd-pleaser.

Tracy Hanson Sands was also agile in adapting her approach to the cello part, playing bass sometimes and harmony at other moments to contrast with House.

House was back with Sands and violinists Donna Carnes and Kim Salistean for Edwin York Bowen's "Quintet in C minor for Horn and String Quartet." This is another seldom-heard English contemporary work which deserves more play.

Graham accorded the first movement the lush musical line the piece deserved. Harmonies sound vaguely like those in Darius Milhaud's chamber compositions.

The waters appeared smooth through the second movement. But near the end, they got rough in quick rhythmic phrases that had the ensemble counting like mad. All held the rhythms steady to produce a good unified sound.

Third Chair Chamber Players brought out the Dvorak "Piano Quintet No. 2 in A Major" for the second half. Pianist Sheri Ericksen was joined by violinists Salistean and Carnes, violist Clark Potter and Sands again, who bowed a magnificent opening cello solo.

But it would be Ericksen's task to provide both the glue for molding the ensemble together, and the short solo expositions that characterize the complexity of this work.

The glue worked well, as Ericksen constantly monitored the play between violins and lower strings. One shining example was her careful work in interweaving Salistean's violin melody with the keyboard answers to it in the scherzo movement.

The final movement concluded with a driving accelerando with excellent piano work from Ericksen. Strong applause indicated patrons' approval of the night's work.

With the exception of a few television performances, the Third Chair concert is the first musical event for a live audience at the NET studios. Staging was well done, and the lighting by Foster Collins set the mood right. The concert will air later this year on NET public radio.

It is strange hearing such a concert in the confines of curtains and acoustical materials. But what the room lacked in ambience it more than made up in clarity of tone and balance.

There will be more TCCP concerts in the big studio. They deserve a larger attendance Sunday than the 40 who turned out Friday night.

If you go

What: Third Chair Chamber Players concert

When: 3 p.m. Sunday

Where: Black box studio, Nebraska Educational Telecommunications, 1800 N. 33rd St.

Tickets: $22 for adults; $5 for students; children 10 and under are admitted free.

For more information: Call 429-8227 or visit www.tccp.us.

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