Traba and Losey Delight a Full-House Audience
A full house was the sight that greeted Traba and Losey, the estimable Flute and Harp Duo from the Sarasota Orchestra. The SMC is doing a great job of inviting members and guests to the monthly meeting/concerts, and Program Chairman Barbara Roth-Donaldson continues to do a great job of lining up talent.
Betsy Traba has been with the SO for a number of years now, and while Cheryl Losey seems new, this is actually her fifth year in Sarasota. Each has sparkled in their various solo bits in the SO Masterworks concerts and with the SO Chamber Orchestra programs, but as a duo they really come into their own.
Their program opened with a Sonata by Bach...some Bach, maybe JS, maybe CPE...but well-crafted, which is what pleases our ears. This piece is more often played by Flute and Harpsichord, giving a cool, reserved sound. The harp gives a far warmer, friendlier sound. Many harpists seem as though they merely happen to be in the same room with their fellow musicians, but Ms. Losey is a full participant. Her playing is impeccable, but more than that, she is sensitive to her co-conspirators, leading when she should, following when appropriate, and always making the music sing. Chamber music is a lot like playing basketball...every player needs to know exactly where everybody else on the court is and what they are capable of, and move as a unit to get the ball down the court and into the basket. When done well, it is poetry in motion, a joy to watch. Traba and Losey exemplified chamber music – fully aware of each other, totally competent, smoothly bringing the music to life.
They did a charming pentatonic piece by the Japanese composer Michio Miyagi, a lovely movement from the John Rutter Suite Antique, and the justly ubiquitous Entr'Acte by Jacques Ibert. They finished the morning's concert (Too soon! Too soon!) with a piece by Astor Piazzola. Twenty years ago Piazzolla's music was rarely heard in this country. He had died in 1992, and his family seemed to guard his music, not allowing other musicians to make arrangements of his music. Piazzolla wrote mainly for his own instrument, the Bandoneon, which is an accordion on steroids, little played by Americans. His music was a re-invention of the traditional Argentinian tango; his nuevo tango added elements of jazz and classical, under the influence of Ginastera and Nadia Boulanger in Paris. This was a whole new sound!
The family gradually relented, and the result is music like Histoire du Tango, a set of three movements. Arranged for flute and keyboard, and here adapted by Losey, Nightclub 1960 is the third of the three, a delight to the ear. I want more...more Piazzolla, more Traba and Losey, more mornings like last Friday!