"Time for Three" is one talented trio
|By James F. Cotter
For the Times Herald-Record
| Newburgh Sunday afternoon at St. George's Episcopal
Church, the annual Queen's Day Concert, presented by the Newburgh Preservation
Association, featured something different, a trio of string players with
amazing grace and talent that runs from Bach to the Beatles, from bluegrass
Time for Three is made up of fiddlers Zachary DePue and Nicholas Kendall and double-bassist Ranaan Meyer. Meyer himself composes with the help of the others, and the three fashion their own arrangements of whatever they play. Like jazz musicians, they improvise and perform without musical scores. They are innovative, inventive and contemporary, creating complex renditions of familiar tunes.
For example, they transform the Beatles song "Blackbird," the Romany melody "Csardas" and the Irish jig "Bar Brawl" into something rich and strange. Their rhythms bounce from string to string and their bowing is flawlessly vigorous and stirring. They radiate humor, energy and insight.
The program opened with "Foxdown" by Meyer, a tour-de-force ensemble piece with echoes of Scottish bagpipes and cowboy songs. Ever-changing tempos, bass pizzicatos and counterpoint marked "Jerusalem's Ridge" by Bill Monroe and Meyer's "Don't Forget," while "Ashokan Farewell" by Jay Ungar offered a nostalgic change of pace with DePue leading the way and the tune blending seamlessly with "Amazing Grace" in a meditative and plaintive interlude.
"Bach Double" offered a fast-paced jazzed-up version of a familiar air, and Brahms' "Hungarian Dance No 5" went through a set of starts and stops with "hearts and flowers" restaurant fiddling and the theme of "Fiddler on the Roof" thrown into the musical mix. The delighted audience entered into the game of recognizing different tunes and variations.
Playing without intermission, the trio swung into "The Orange Blossom Special," full of New Orleans jazz motifs, and concluded with an encore from their own "American Suite," playing the third and final movements, a slow soul-searching spiritual and a high-spirited folk-dance medley. Enthralling the audience to the end of the concert, Time for Three certainly deserves to be heard again.