Davie Thiel for Boise Weekly
If you think that a baroque orchestra is restricted to playing the music of 17th- and 18th-century composers like Bach, Handel and Telemann, think again.
This evening, the Boise Baroque Orchestra and the Langroise Trio will perform the world premiere of "Concerto Grosso for String Trio and Orchestra," a never-before-heard piece of music by Idaho composer Jim Cockey.
Cockey, who has a gold album for his work with the Moody Blues and who has previously composed music for the Langroise Trio and the Darkwood Consort, was thrilled when Boise Baroque Music Director Dan Stern approached him with the idea of composing a piece for his orchestra.
"This was an exciting opportunity because I have a personal connection to the Langroise Trio and string trios in general," said Cockey. "Also, I feel a special association with chamber orchestras."
As Cockey set out to compose the piece, which seeks to bridge the Baroque and Romantic Periods, one goal was to create solos that would showcase the considerable talents of the Langroise Trio (Geoffrey Trabichoff, David Johnson and Samuel Smith). While many elements influence and constrain the direction a composer takes, because of Cockey's long-time relationship with the Trio, the musical personalities of the soloists were major factors as he composed their solos.
"Writing for Geoffrey is a blast because I'm also a violinist and we just seem to speak the same musical language," said Cockey. "He interprets and plays music exactly the way I imagined."
Violist David Johnson presented an entirely different challenge. "As I considered David's solo parts, I must remember that he's an incredibly melodic player," Cockey said.
Last but not least, it should be apparent at the concert that Cockey had the most fun writing for cellist Samuel Smith. "I can definitely go left field with Sam because he has a personality and a breadth of musical interests that allow me to go wild," Cockey said. "I definitely give it to Sam in the last movement and let him run. Sam calls the solo 'funkadelic.'"
You might expect a composer to feel some doubt and anxiety as an orchestra prepares to debut an entirely new piece of music to a discerning audience who will undoubtedly compare it to masterpieces that have survived and flourished over the millennium.
Not Cockey. "I'm especially proud of the second movement, which is titled 'Air.' It came out really, really nice. It's absolutely gorgeous, and I think everyone will like it."
In addition to the world premiere, the evening's program will also feature Karlin Coolidge, flute, during Bach's "Overture (Suite) No. 2, in B minor," and will conclude with Mozart's "Divertimento No. 11."
"The Bach piece is a tour de force for flute," Stern explained. "And I'm constantly amazed by Mozart, who, even when writing what is essentially music for a social gathering, can turn out incredible gems like the 'Divertimento.' This program spans four centuries of music, and I hope we will delight our audience."