Calgary gets instrumental

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History tells us that when one big thing encounters a small thing, death and destruction generally ensue. Jack met the giant at the top of the beanstalk, David claimed victory over Goliath with a single rock and, this Sunday, harp meets flute in a relatively non-violent event at Scarboro United Church. Suffice to say, death and destruction will probably not be the main course on the musical menu at the Instrumental Society of Calgary season opener. Rather, the concert will feature some beautiful music played by the CPO's Gwen Klassen and Tisha Murvihill on flute and harp respectively. Though in size a harp may dwarf a flute, Murvihill believes they make a wonderful pair.

"Flute and harp is just a fantastic combination," says Murvihill. "The harp has a full, sonorous sound, the flute plays lovely melodies, and the combination is just a gorgeous sound."

The combination, in fact, is not uncommon at all. There are many duets for flute and harp in the classical repertoire, which means the pair had plenty to choose from when they selected the pieces for this Sunday's performance.

"Gwen and I picked [the music] together over a glass of wine," explains Murvihill. "We had a pile of flute and harp music, played through it, and said 'I like that one, I don't like that one.'"

An enjoyable selection process makes for an equally enjoyable program. The concert is not merely about a relationship between two instruments, but the music they play together. This particular concert will mix some well-known opera melodies with some lesser-known and rarely played pieces from the literature. Hence, the audience can experience some familiarity through Puccini and something unfamiliar as well through Schaposhnikov. Murvihill notes the latter is rarely performed due to the complexity of the harp music.

"[The Schaposhnikov piece] is not played very often, mostly because it's too difficult for the harpist," says Murvihill. "But I loved the music so much, so I reworked a lot of it."

In other words, Murvihill has done a lot of work to make sure the audience gets to hear something really special on Sunday. For those in attendance, the diverse program should present a variety of musical situations using only two instruments. One big instrument and one small instrument does not equal death and destruction, they just sound nice together.