Richard Todd, Ottawa Citizen
OTTAWA — Ottawa composer Jan Järvlepp has produced so many new works in recent years that it came as a surprise, albeit a pleasant one, that his short concert Friday evening, part of the Gig Space’s series The Composer Performs, was made up mostly of his “greatest hits” from the last 20 years or so.
To put it more exactly they were his greatest chamber music hits. He has produced several substantial works for orchestra, including a number of concertos. Also, his superb Symphony for Brass was premièred last season by the Capital BrassWorks.
But Friday evening was all about smaller-scale stuff, including two violin duets entitled The Tennis Game and The Ping Pong Game. They are easy enough except for their sometimes tricky back-and-forth rhythms. They were written as student pieces with the composer’s daughter Karen in mind. On Friday they were played by two members of the Ottawa Symphony, Galina Rezaeipour and Lotta Lundsten.
If we can speak of Järvlepp chestnuts, the first thing to come to mind is Moonscape, a beautiful, haunting and quirky piece that was originally set for English horn and electric guitar. It has been played by many instruments other than the English horn, though; Friday it was performed by violist Emmanuel Beaudet with Järvlepp on the guitar.
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Järvlepp’s ‘greatest hits’ full of surprises