With Steve Lin on guitar and Kris Palmer on flutes and recorders, Black Cedar uses their versatile mix to explore and create repertoire ranging from Renaissance love songs, to Appalachian folk songs, to recent compositions from Asia and our own local composers. “They perform beautifully together: perfect synchronization of subtle rhythms and phrases,” writes The South Bay Guitar Society.
The duo presents three English lute songs by the Elizabethan Renaissance master, John Dowland. “Flow My Tears,” “If My Complaints,” and “Come Away, Come Sweet Love.” These are some of the finest examples of Dowland’s sensitive and melancholy songs.
The duo’s rendition of Schubert’s “Arpeggione Sonata,” one of the most beautiful sonatas of the early Romantic period, is also on the program. Originally written for piano and arpeggione (a rare, six-stringed musical instrument that was fretted and tune like a guitar but bowed like a cello), Dr. Palmer and Mr. Lin perform the work on African wood flute and guitar.
Also on the program is Toru Takemitsu’s meditative “Toward the Sea” for alto flute and guitar. Written in homage to Hermann Melville’s novel, “Moby Dick,” Takemitsu emphasizes the spiritual dimension of the book, stating, “meditation and water are wedded together…The music is an homage to the sea which creates all things and a sketch for the sea of tonality.” This work was commissioned in 1981 by Greenpeace to support their Save the Whales campaign.
The concert concludes with the Appalachian folk song tradition and the Negro-American experience from excerpts of Robert Beaser’s Grammy-nominated 1986 collection, Mountain Songs. This album is composed of lyric ballads from the southern mountains of Appalachia, and Negro-American spirituals from the Deep South.
In addition to their appearance in Kensington, Black Cedar continues its commitment to the ARC of Alameda County with a series of free concerts for the developmentally disabled throughout their 2012-2013 season. “Without these concerts, our clients wouldn’t have access to attending any concerts,” says Dr. Shannon Jurich, Director of ARC. “For them to have access to such incredibly talented musicians is novel, exciting, and humbling.”