but thunder, lightning, and a driving rain could not keep a large and enthusiastic crowd away from last night’s “Music of Three Faiths” concert for Early Music Hawaii. In fact, as I was being picked up to go to the concert, my phone wailed with a civil defense siren, and I was thinking, OH NO, what if this happens during the concert! Well someone’s phone did just that, but luckily the siren didn’t happen during the music, only between pieces.
Ian Capps, president of Early Music Hawaii, introduced the group and although he hosts a local public radio program specializing in early music (“The Early Muse”), he was most excited to hear this type of music live, perhaps for the first time, here in Hawaii.
I had mentioned the unusual instruments in an earlier post. Here are photos by Yoko Kokuni of the real things. There was so much improvisation in the concert and although there were a couple of music stands, it looked like they never turned the pages! Yoko also took a picture of what was on the singer’s stand.
For me, I was instantly transported by this mesmerizing music, and if I closed my eyes, I could have sworn I was in a Moroccan marketplace or some other exotic place. Yoko Kokuni wrote on her Facebook page that the concert brought back a “memory of a trip to Cordova, Granada, southern part of Spain. People with those three different faiths lived side by side and shared the music!”
Every single member of the Peabody Consort was an early music virtuoso, an absolute master of his or her own instrument, and we were all blinded by their stunning technique. Director Mark Cudek who founded the group in 1996, along with these Peabody alumni, was joined by Julie Bosworth, soprano; Brian Kay, oud and voice; Niccolo Seligmann, vielle and Daphna Mor, voice, ney and recorders.
I saw Scott Fikse at intermission and what he enjoyed so much was that everyone not only played their instruments brilliantly, but they also sang in a number of foreign languages, including Arabic! I especially liked that the group all stood rather than sat to perform the last number, it was almost like they were dancing—the rhythms were so infectious and intoxicating!
The original concept was to have a Christian minister, Jewish rabbi and a Muslim imam read short selections throughout the concert, but unfortunately Rabbi Ken Aronowitz had a conflict and only the Muslim Imam Ismail Esshikh was in attendance. When the imam was recognized by Ian Capps during intermission, there was a hearty round of applause. From all accounts, the imam thoroughly enjoyed the concert and the warm reception he got.
I believe it was Brian Kay, who said that concerts are not a one-way street; the audience is a big part of the equation. Ian further reported that “The Peabody folks were absolutely delighted and energized by our audience, especially given the storm… We are indeed lucky to have such enthusiastic and loyal supporters.”