Jon Poupore’s Chamber ME Music Series Delights Saturday Morning Audience

The River Tree Arts performance gallery was set up to welcome a full house of classical music lovers. Accessible music carefully designed to delight a new audience was nevertheless enjoyed by a handful of longtime classical music buffs who are residents of the Kennebunks. They were hungry enough for this genre to come out for it at 11 o’clock on Saturday morning. Impresario Jon Poupore is the Librarian of the Portland Symphony Orchestra. He has great connections among Maine musicians, and good taste. His viola performance today was exemplary! Today’s fine trio ensemble included Heather Sumner, clarinet and Robert Enman, piano.

“Trio in E-flat major for Clarinet, Viola and Piano”, K. 498 by W. A. Mozart (1756-1791) was easy listening at its best in the hands of Sumner, Poupore and Enman, respectively. You could tell that this was a classical music audience because only one embarrassed audience member applauded after the first movement, while all others waited until after the third movement to express their delight. (Andante; Menuetto/Trio; Rondeaux).

Five pieces were listed, but four announced to be played from the Max Bruch (1838-1920) “Eight Pieces for Clarinet, Viola and Piano”: Andante, Allegro con moto was passed over; Nachtgesang, Rumanishe Melodie, Allegro agitato. The Bruch, considering the constraints of the Petrov piano, was much more satisfying, as the pedaled phrases blended the entire ensemble. In the Mozart that requires a more distinct piano touch separating chords, the piano offered no resonance although correctly played.

My suggestion to Mr. Poupore is that after the next four concerts they consider repeating this program, as we who heard it today would certainly enjoy it again. The potential classical audience, including year around tourists, waiting for this to happen in the Kennebunks should not be deprived of this particular experience. Leaf peepers and weekenders will take note of the activity and consider settling here when they retire.

This morning’s Chamber Music ME concert repeated its season opener at the Freeport Community Center in Freeport, ME, at 12:30 on Friday the 15th, and became the kick-off of the Kennebunk leg of the Chamber ME Music Series created by Poupore. We trust that the fine quality of this opening performance has set the bar at a level that will only be exceeded with difficulty.

Recitals of amateurs, including some faculty members who are certainly not touring artists, must continue at River Tree Arts, and can always be so-described in notices, because that is where most performance begins – on a community stage. All musicians need a stage and applause in order to grow. The public will respond accordingly when communication is complete. There is an audience for each level.

Thus the community of the Kennebunks is newly challenged to support Stephen Joffe, in his second week as Executive Director. If this was his debut, it bodes well for River Tree Arts classical music performances. The venue has recently begun to host the Coffee House productions that have so successfully presented for a number of years at the Unitarian Universalist church in Kennebunk. Hopefully, this strong popular audience will step out in faith on future Saturday mornings, to sample the joy of one of Jon Poupore’s accessible classical instrumental ensembles to join those who have pledged to return. Freeport concerts are on the third Friday of the month at 12:30 p.m. and the Kennebunk concerts will continue on the following Saturdays.

Mary Elizabeth Nordstrom