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September 17, 2020 Virtual Musicale

The 9/17/20 Virtual Musicale was very well attended and enjoyed.

Performers were: Natale Farrell, Carol Wazlavek

Presenters were: Julie Coucheron, Anna Armstrong

Listeners were: Utako Tanigawa, Tom Slavicek, Mr. and Mrs. Coucheron (Julie's parents joining us from Norway!), Asa Williams, Ed Ewing, Judy Manganiello, Shoko Tanaka, Richard Bishop, Michael Bronoff (joining from Texas), Maggie Frick.

The musicale started with two lovely performances. Natale Farrell, one of our newer members, played the Rachmaninoff Elegie, a very challenging and "Rachmaninoff-y" piece; it was her first try at performing this piece and we all enjoyed it very much. Then Carol Wazlavek played an excerpt from Chopin's Ballade #2, another difficult piece. Again, we loved hearing this and were pleased to see our participants playing pieces both formidable and varied.

A new member, Michael Bronoff, asked Carol why she only played part, not all, of the Ballade. Carol and Utako both explained to him that one of the features of these musicales is that members can try out pieces, or portions thereof, several times before playing them in formal recitals. That is one of the goals of GMG since the beginning - we are all invited to play for others informally in order to polish our musical and performing skills.

The last 30 minutes of the musicale featured Julie Coucheron, an internationally recognized solo and chamber music artist. GMG member Anna Armstrong has been a student of Julie since last November and Anna introduced Julie to the group. Anna played a short clip of Julie playing the last part of Mendelssohn's Piano Trio #1, 1st movement, with David Coucheron (Julie's brother and concertmaster of the ASO) and Christopher Rex (past principal cellist of the ASO). This clip showed a rehearsal of the trio, which was performed two weeks ago as part of the Amelia Island Chamber Festival. Anna explained that she wanted this video to illustrate the virtuosity and passion in this trio, as representative of so much of the chamber music repertoire.

This led to a very informative and interesting discussion with Julie, including a demonstration by Julie at her piano of the different way that the opening of the Trio #1 would be played by the pianist as a chamber musician as opposed to a solo performance. The feel and dynamics of the piano part were completely different, with Julie even singing the opening bars of the cello part as she played to illustrate the collaborative nature of this music.

We were very lucky to have Julie Coucheron as our guest, with her musicality and enthusiasm providing an inside view of chamber music performance. We hope to follow up with another session on the chamber music repertoire in the future.

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Shoko Tanaka
Shoko Tanaka
Sep 24, 2020

Anna, Thank you so much for introducing Ms. Julie Coucheron to GMG and having her interview. I really enjoyed hearing the story of how you two met and you started taking lessons from her. The discussion of chamber music vs. solo performance was fascinating and convincing. I strongly agree that the practice for chamber music and solo are interactive and fortify each other. Julie, I look forward to seeing you and your parents at virtual or real musicale / concerts in future!


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