RESPONSE TO TERROR
As the name suggests, the Chamber Music in Historic Sites series ushers music into architectural spaces in relationships that can surprise, delight and perplex. Rarely, though, have sound and site been more ideally matched than on Sunday afternoon, when Laurie Monahan and the Red-Headed League settled into the Pig ‘n Whistle. Dating back to 1927 and adjacent to the Egyptian Theatre in Hollywood, the recently renovated pub-restaurant proved a perfect backdrop for high-minded pub music.
With musicians based in Boston and San Francisco, Monahan’s group stakes a claim in a special niche of early music, folk division.
With Sunday’s enticing hourlong program, salon met saloon culture, mixing traditional Scottish folk tunes and pieces taken from the rarely heard trove of Scottish folk songs that were arranged by Haydn.
Monahan was plainly the centerpiece of the group, with her lustrous, conscientious treatment of the Haydn-kissed songs, but the three instrumentalists were crucial, as well.
Each musician had a spotlight: Shira Kammen played a custom-made “postmodern Baroque violin,” replete with sympathetic strings, and showed her focused flair on a set of Scottish reels; Peter Sykes, on the fortepiano, took a smart improvisational detour on his cadenza during “The Bonnie Lass o’ Bon-Accord”; and cellist David Morris--playing an 18th century instrument--waxed sweetly mournful on the old tune “Lochaber No More.”