The Washington Post

‘Sonic Escape’ with folk, classical music at Evermay Estate

Sonic Escape (Anna Millar)

There may be few concert venues in town as civilized as the Evermay Estate in Georgetown, where you’re greeted at the door by the hosts, offered wine and hors d’oeuvres, and generally invited to make yourself at home. But the real pleasure comes from the young virtuosos showcased in Evermay’s ongoing “Overtures” series, which on Friday night featured the flute-violin-cello trio Sonic Escape in an program that wove together folk and classical music with a light and engaging touch.

It was an evening designed to entertain — one of Haydn’s helium-filled “London” trios was about the weightiest thing on the program — and it did so with a wide-ranging, anything-goes sense of fun. Japanese folk music segued into traditional Scandinavian tunes, Bach melodies were cheerfully fused with Irish gigs, and a funny Canadian waltz got the audience clapping along — all of it tied together with running commentary by flutist Shawn Wyckoff and violinist Maria Kaneko Millar.

It all made for a personable and smile-inducing concert, with fine playing from Wyckoff, Millar and cellist Nan-Cheng Chen. The most interesting music of the evening, though, was not the traditional folk arrangements, but two wonderfully imaginative works by Millar herself. “Mosquito Blue” vividly (and humorously) evoked human’s eternal war with mosquitoes, but it was “Walking the Woods in Twilight” that stole the show. A tribute to the slaves who escaped along the Underground Railroad, it opens in the peace and luminous colors of a summer evening, then builds steadily in tension and rising fear until its final release into freedom. An impressive work from a young composer worth keeping an eye on.

Brookes is a freelance writer.



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