Sensuous and dramatic, melancholy and lovely is how Juneau pianist Phil Miscovich described Frederic Chopin's "Nocturne in B flat minor." The melody contains all the mystic crooning and lurking voluptuousness of its composer, he added.
Miscovich will perform the Chopin piano work Saturday night, one of eight sets of performances at the Symphony Showcase. The showcase has been an annual event for members of the symphony, an opportunity to play favorite works and collaborate with fellow musicians in more intimate arrangements than the symphony permits.
Some uncommon combinations of instruments will be featured, as well as duos, quartets and quintets. Miscovich and French horn player Russell Strandtmann will open the concert at 8 p.m. at Northern Light United Church with a movement from a Mozart concerto.
The Nimbus Quartet will perform a piece composed expressly for the group by Martin Brody. The quartet debuted the work last summer at the CrossSound music festival.
"It's probably the first piece that's been written for this combination of instruments - flute, violin, viola, and euphonium. It was a commission for Nimbus," said flutist Sally Schlicting. She will be joined by Julia and Nate Bastuscheck on viola and euphonium, and by violinist Steve Tada.
The 15-minute composition, called "Divertimento d.C" was described in the CrossSound program as "a quickly varying conversation between the instruments." The d.C refers to daCapo, or back to the beginning, alluding to the conversational restatement of the theme.
Oboist Jetta Whittaker is delighted to have the opportunity to perform with a woodwind quintet drawn from the symphony. Miscovich will trade piano for clarinet for the ensemble, which also includes Schlicting, bassoonist Jan Coldwell and French horn player Bill Paulick. The group will perform "La Chemine du Roi Ren" or "The chimney of King Renee" by French composer Darius Milhaud, who lived and worked in California in the first half of the 20th century.
The title refers to a French expression that means to bask in the sun. The music originally was written about 1940 for the film "Cavalcade dAmour," which dealt with the subject of love in three time periods: The Middle Ages, the 19th century, and the 20th century.
"It is a beautiful piece, really lush music," Whittaker said, adding that each of the seven movements has its own character.
The showcase will include Lisa Ibias and Steve Tada in a violin duet composed by Pablo de Sarasate, with Lorrie Heagy on piano. Heagy will accompany oboist Jan Coldwell in a sonata for oboe and piano by 20th century French composer Francis Poulenc.
Paul Hill and Nathan Bastuscheck also will perform a duet with trombone and tuba by contemporary composer George Roberts. Bastuscheck will substitute tuba for flute to perform a movement from a Bach sonata for flute and piano with Jacque Farnsworth. Farnsworth also will perform a pair of duets by Bach and Debussy with trombonist Paul Hill.
Tickets for the Symphony Showcase are $14 for the general audience, $12 for students and seniors in advance at Hearthside Books. Tickets are $2 more at the door, and $5 for children.