Last Friday was a special treat for TWGW and me; We loaded up the beggarmobile and set off for Van Buren, Arkansas. Friday night, we were treated to a performance by the Quapaw Quartet. The intimate audience of about 20 people gathered down front of the Van Buren Fine Arts Center auditorium to listen to the quartet perform some select works from Shostakovitch and Brahms. Both composers’ work is relatively unfamiliar to me, and so it was a real treat to uncover the surprises in store as the musicians poured their energy into the show.
I especially enjoyed listening to Shostakovitch, noting the heavy influence the modern classical composer has had on movie music throughout my lifetime. Listening for the themes that drifted in and out of the tunes was like an audio version of Where’s Waldo, and it thrilled my spirit.
I went into listening to Brahms with a preconceived notion of what to expect, and I could not have been more wrong. There was so much energy and vibrance in the selection that it almost made me squirm in my seat in fear that the performers would die of exhaustion before our very eyes. If I took anything from this performance it is a renewed interest in classical arrangements for small ensembles.
The acoustics in the Van Buren Fine Arts Center were amazing. Upon entering the auditorium, I immediately noted the absolute quiet that surrounded me. Once the musicians took the stage, the clarity of their performance was astounding. For a brief while, I closed my eyes and bathed in the notes that washed over me, marveling at the sounds of their fingers striking the strings of their instruments. Needless to say, I was impressed.
Saturday brought some shopping at a few of the local shops. The purchase of an antique razor,some fine locally grown and spun icelandic wool yarn, and several used books highlighted the day and made for a pleasant outing.
Sunday, we were treated to an art exhibit, highlighting the works of talented up-and-coming young artist, Christa Nishmuta. Christa is the type of artist who really paints and draws from the heart, imbuing a sense of deep spiritual connection with her medium. It’s always exciting to see young artists and the enthusiasm that they show in their work, and Nishmuta is no exception. She has a lot to be proud of in her work.
The overall theme seemed to be one of flight, featuring many butterflies, dragonflies, and birds. It almost gave me a sense that she’s in a place of great excitement in her life–soaring, as it were. Christa has a keen eye for the details that matter and an excellent sense of technical precision in her hand, her work ranging over a course of styles and excelling in every area. It was a real visual treat to take in her show. Prints of her work are available for purchase. If you are interested in learning more about her work, just let me know, and I’ll put you in touch with her.