CMA concert to offer two tastes that go great together
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By Chip Chandler — Digital Content Producer

Three piano trios will offer a broad stylistic range at Chamber Music Amarillo's season-opening concert Saturday.

The "Meat and Potatoes and Foie Gras" concert — set for 7 p.m. Saturday in the Fibonacci Space, 3306 S.W. Sixth Ave. — will feature pianist Jim Rauscher, violinist Lauren Pokorzynski and cellist Noah Littlejohn.

They'll perform Joseph Haydn's Piano Trio No. 39 in G Major (Gypsy), Claude Debussy's Piano Trio in G Major and Robert Schumann's Piano Trio No. 1 in D Minor.

The concert's title alludes to where the three composers hail from (Austria and Germany in the case of Haydn and Schumann, and France in Debussy's case).

"There's kind of a joke in the musicians' world that a lot of the repertoire that has been written in a country like Germany and Russia are kind of 'meat and potatoes' music — substantial texture in the music and their intents," said David Palmer, CMA artistic director. "More full-bodied, if you will, in some respects.

"The fois gras alludes to ... French music. It's in a somewhat more singular style ... very beautiful, very unusual," he said. "Delicate."

That doesn't mean it's simple, though.

"I've played a lot of German and Russian and American and English and others, and I was really taken with how incredibly challenging technically and musically the works of (French composers) Ravel and others are," Palmer said. "It was personally kind of a sobering experience. That's in spite of what the audience hears. If you're playing it well and conveying that delicate quality, there's still an enormous amount of information on the page to transfer to the instrument." 

Rauscher, who recently retired after 35 years with the Amarillo College department of music, "has always been an extraordinary musician," Palmer said. And, if anything, his newfound free time should help improve his gifts, Palmer said.

"I think his best performances are ahead of him — and us," Palmer said. "I think we're going to have a great opportunity to hear, based on his decades of experience, a wonderful honing of ideas and intellectual musical concepts."

He'll be working with two younger musicians — Pokorzynski, a graduate teaching assistant at Texas Tech University (studying under Annie Chalex Boyle, a former Amarillo musician who regularly performs with CMA), and Littlejohn, the assistant principal cellist of the Amarillo Symphony and third-year orchestra director at Crockett Middle School.

"I'm really excited for Chamber Music Amarillo to work with some of the young musicians in the community," Palmer said. "They've stepped into the role of educators and performers, and we're excited to have them participate in chamber music with us."

Tickets are $35 for adults and $10 for students.

The weekend also will include a short Friday Night Family concert at 7 p.m. Friday in the Fibonacci. The free half-hour concert, designed for families with young children, will include excerpts from the full concert and a discussion with the musicians.

Call 806-235-3545.



Chip Chandler is a digital content producer for Panhandle PBS. He can be contacted at, at @chipchandler1 on Twitter and at on Facebook.