The Les Six Sextet of Louisville filled the evening air with saccharine wonder and excitement this past Sunday evening in Carrick Theatre. From what I experienced, I can convey to you that the performance given by the sextet showcased the level of expertise of every artist in the group. They made the performance of the songs seem easy. The only sign of struggle given being a small gasp occasionally taken by one of the members of the company.
The group performed five pieces in total, with two being composed by Transylvania University’s own professor of music, Larry Barnes. The pieces by Barnes showcased him as an essential member of the Transylvania staff.
The first piece performed by the group was by Albert Roussel, who was a French composer. He was heavily influenced by the impressionist movement, and artists like Debussy and Ravel, but later turned to neoclassicism. The piece as performed by the Louisville group is unlike many of Roussel’s early works, as the impressionist influence is not evident. This piece, in fact, is much more daring in composition. Within the composition, each musician is allowed a moment to shine which makes it fitting to begin the concert.
You can view a variation of Divertissement, Op.6 as performed by The Berlin Counterpoint, another sextet.
Barnes’s two pieces were the next to be performed, starting with Mixed Company, which was composed by Barnes specifically to be performed by Les Six. Preludes from Pangaea displays heavy influences from Barnes’s travels in the far eastern world. Consisting of four separate preludes, the piece showcases Barnes wide array of influences and experiences available to him. With interests lying so far around the world, Barnes proves that his ability to create is boundless.
Next to be presented by the group was Op. 45 of Theodore Blumer’s Sextet: Theme and Variations. Consisting of 8 variations that each come together in the end to create a masterful performance that makes the talent of not only the composer, but the artists playing known. The first variation is a solo by the masterful pianist, Denine LeBlanc, of Les Six. The variation truly allowed the talent of the woodwinds and pianist of the group to shine through.
You can see the full variation performed below by another sextet.
The concert was ended with a performance of a Sextet composed by recently-famous composer Marcelo Zarvos. His repertoire includes composing the scores of movies such as Wonder, Fences, Remember Me, and The Words. The piece was beautifully performed and was very obviously modern in composition. The zinging performance of the arrangement allowed the vitality of the audience to endure all the way to the end of the night.
All in all, it was a beautiful concert that gave a new life to the rainy day outside.