Northumberland Echo

Follow Us On:

Quintet captivates Northern Neck

Posted on Wednesday, April 12, 2017 at 10:22 am

The Rappahannock Concert Association has a habit of bringing music to the Northern Neck that would probably never be heard here otherwise. It did it again Saturday with “The Borealis Wind Quintet.”

Borealis is made up of five musicians playing the horn, the bassoon, the clarinet, the flute and the oboe. Bassoons and oboes themselves aren’t exactly common instruments in the region.

The Borealis Wind Quintet was started at Julliard in 1976 and has been playing around the world ever since. It has even been nominated for a Grammy.

Saturday’s concert at the Northumberland High School auditorium ranged from pieces by 19th century composers to a suite composed for Borealis by Eric Ewazen, a professor at Julliard. That music created by a collaboration between Borealis and Ewazen was inspired by waters around Ewazen’s summer home in Aspen, Colo., clarinetist Kathryn Taylor, who works with Ewazen at Julliard, said. It included “Whitewater Rapids,” “Columbines,” and “At the Summit.” People who have never negotiated whitewater rapids probably didn’t truly appreciate the way the ensemble recreated the power and movement of heavy chutes in rapids with bassoonist Wayne Hileman providing the deep and foreboding tones. They really do sound like that.

Without percussion instruments in the group, the music didn’t set toes tapping,but it did have members of the audience swaying as the instruments blended and their music flowed. It also had them smiling when flautist Keith Bonner would start ripple higher notes above the other instruments.

Dan Culpeper on the horn and Tama Beach Wells on the oboe, rounded out the group. Wells, the youngest of the group provided the only real ovement. He swayed with the music. The others just played.

The Stephanie Nekasian and Hod O’Brien Combo with present “The Ladies of Jazz” at the association’s next concert April 28. Its final concert of the year will be by the Jeff LittleTrio on May 20.

Information about the association is at