They were recently introduced to each other by cellist Scott Putnam. They performed this concert again at the Redding School of the Arts last week and the final concert of the tour will be performed on May 10 at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Redding, 7:30 p.m., hosted by the Redding Performing Arts Society.
Local virtuosos Chiharu Sai (piano) and Michael Eby (violin) performed a lively and engaging concert “Spring Celebration of the Classics” on April 28 at the Seventh Day Adventist Church in Mount Shasta. And it began with the audience, accompanied by Mike Wright on piano, Music by the Mountain president, singing “Happy Birthday” to Chiharu Sai.
The first piece was Mozart's Violin Sonata No. 32 in B-flat Major KV454. Three movements - Largo – Allegretto, Andante and Allegretto eased the audience into a Spring like calm which was a prelude to the coming storm. Two lively Spanish dances followed – Spanish Dance (arranged by Andaluza) and Danse Espagnole from La Vida Breve. Things started moving quickly.
The last piece of the first half of the concert was Variations on an Original Theme Op. 15 by Henryk Wieniawski. Michael Eby noted that he was a little apprehensive about putting this piece at the end of the first half because it is very technically difficult. He added that this work is often a standard in violin competitions. Chiharu Sai added that this is a piece that is all about the violin. Needless to say, he nailed it. It began with a long high speed violin solo. When the piano was added, a large number of variations were played, each a little more spectacular than the last. At one point Eby started plucking and bowing at the same time. An amazing technical feat. And Sai added a strong, emphatic piano solo in the process.
The two earned an intermission break before jumping into Brahms’ Hungarian Dance No. 1. This was followed by Caprice Vinois, a character piece with many moods by Fritz Kreisler.
The finale was the Sonata for piano and violin No. 7 in C minor Op. 30 No. 2 by Ludwig van Beethoven. Four movements - Allegro con brio, Adagio cantabile, Scherzo: Allegro, and Finale: Allegro. Both instruments were fully featured with Sai playing with power and excitement on both ends of the piano intermixed with Eby's incredible violin velocity. Overall a lively and exciting concert (and no one was sleeping!). The audience reacted wildly with a standing ovation leading to an encore piece which was a Spanish dance from the late 19th Century.
Chiharu Sai and Michael Eby both attended the Manhattan School of Music in New York at different times. Michael Eby is originally from Redding and currently performs with the North State Symphony while pursuing performances all over the world. Chiharu Sai, world class concert pianist, is originally from Japan and came to Mount Shasta in 2012, and continues with teaching, conducting and performing. They were recently introduced to each other by cellist Scott Putnam. They performed this concert again at the Redding School of the Arts last week and the final concert of the tour will be performed on May 10 at the Pilgrim Congregational Church in Redding, 7:30 p.m., hosted by the Redding Performing Arts Society.
Music by the Mountain is a non-profit organization that brings outstanding classical musicians from all over the world to Mount Shasta and Siskiyou County. For more information on this organization, see their page on Facebook or go to www.musicbythemountain.org.