Paramount Chamber Players present ‘Winter Winds’

BY TOM NETHERLAND SPECIAL TO THE HERALD COURIER

In lieu of winter’s frosty touch thus far in Bristol comes a welcome “Winter Winds.”

Courtesy music and not mother nature, the strands of winter will soon enrich through the cool of woodwinds in the neighborhood.

Introducing Craig Combs and the Paramount Chamber Players. Mostly sans strings, the adept collective present “Winter Winds” at the Paramount Center for the Arts in Bristol on Jan. 27 as part of a four-show sprint through the area.

“The universe of sound for this show is radically different,” said Combs. “It’s about the whole universe of sound.”

For the first time in the chamber players’ 13-year history, Combs’ crew will perform mostly without strings.

“I’m trying to introduce my audience to new things,” he said. “It’s an aspect of chamber music I’ve not brought to the fore in my 13 years here. I thought, ‘let’s do it.’”

Woodwinds — flutes to bassoons, horns to clarinets as opposed to vio-lins, cellos and such will accompany Combs’ piano.

“They’re playing the supportive and lead roles,” Combs said. “They’re not (typically) supportive, but they’re often supported by the strings section. With this show, they are supporting each other. The pi-ano is providing the palette of sound for them.”

Five pieces of music comprise the show’s repertoire. Akin to unpre-dictable shifts in a brisk winter’s breeze, variety swirls throughout their chosen presentations of sound.

“Quite a lot,” Combs said. “We’ll open with the Schmitt piece (Sonatine op. 85 for piano, flute and clarinet). It’s about an eight-minute piece. It’s very jocular. It has a jazzy feel. Upbeat.”

Music bears color and temperament. For instance, country music’s John-ny Cash strikes often as dark and stormy. Pop’s Adele emotes as warm, florid and sumptuous.

Illustrated well throughout the chamber players’ show, color deepens as they venture from German Florence Schmitt to Frenchman Darius Mi-lhaud. Inclusion of the bassoon in the latter shifts the winter winds of the show as if from a pleasantly cool day to a deep frigid night.

“The color of the bassoon is like no other,” Combs said.

Within the buzzing lows to the nasally highs of the bassoon to the el-egant twinkling of a piano, each player adds their own touch. Personali-ty spices performance.

“Each person can bring to it their own personal world,” Combs said. “It’s like being an ambassador of emotion.”

Upon the rails of a rousing locomotive of sound, the show includes a piece from Beethoven and a show-stopping selection from Carl Reinecke. Chamber music does not simply cater to a sleepy set of listeners, as il-lustrated well by Combs’ choices.

“We’ll end with the Reinicke,” he said. “It’s like Beethoven in a sense. It’s moving like the wind. I’m chasing to keep up, hanging on by my fingernails.”

Come to the show, Combs said. Hang on along with him. They’re gifted musicians who offer the gift of music. Merely accept. Then apply the mind to the notes such to allow the spirit to engage and thus open a route through which the heart can soar. Or fall. Or swoon. Or whatever.

“We love what we do, love the music we present and love to bring it to the community,” Combs said. “People should come and experience something new. You never know what you might discover.”