North Vancouver Centennial Theatre

by Lichen Tilley

VIVEZA, Canada's premier "salon" music group closed the North Shore Community Concerts' season with a latin flourish The concert was held May 6 at North Vancouver Centennial Theatre.

"Viveza" in Spanish means "lively, vivacious" and both the performers and the program definitely were that! Some might remember, that VIVEZA, with actors Martha Henry, Rod Beatty, prima ballerina, Karen Kain and Luis Bravo's FOREVER TANGO troupe were guest artists in the CBC-TV special, "Dancing in the Moment" which aired February 21, l999.

Salon music is a genre which should not be confused with chamber music. It evokes a more languid time - of opulent lounges, smoky cafes, and elegant women tantalizingly tango-ing with their dashingly dressed dates, or couples sipping impeccable wines partially hidden behind palm fronds.

This year is VIVEZA'S tenth anniversary and they have not lost their verve. They provided a varied, lively program starting with Gershwin and ending with two encores by Brahms and Debussy. The audience's enjoyment was evident.

Gwen Thompson (violin), Mark Koenig (violin and melodeon),Wilmer Fawcett (double bass) and Robert Holliston (piano) performed a sultry "Three Preludes" by Gershwin, an exaggerated "Frasquita" by Lehar; a playful "Humoreske" by Dvorak; and an amusing "Jeeves and Wooster" (their signature piece) by Ann Dudley Ravel's "Five O'Clock Foxtrot" offered the audience an opportunity to hear the 37 key melodeon. These were only a few of the pieces played prior to intermission.

The second half of the program was more dramatic, including several works by the modern master of tango, Piazzolla. His compositions are less romantic and more intense, - even frenetic - as is his "Allegro Tangabile". The "Third Man Theme" by Karas, provided a lighter balance in the extensive program, as did "Dango's Tango" by Gould.

If I had not been a fan of salon music previously, VIVEZA would have certainly captured my interest and imagination with their excellent, passionate performance.

This program should provide a boost to the N. S. Community Concert  Series, which, next year, includes the Vancouver Chamber Choir and the Hoebig Trio.