ECO Musical Moments

No. 1 - 4/9/2020

Welcome to ECO’s new Musical Moments series! We can’t perform in the concert hall for the time being due to the threat of COVID-19, so we’ve decided to bring the music to you.

Join us on Facebook every Tuesday, Thursday, and Friday at 7:00pm for videos featuring ECO musicians, board members, and friends performing and discussing great works, showcasing the instruments from each section of the orchestra, and more.

ECO has been forced to cancel all of our remaining concerts and events for the 2019 – 2020 season. The organization relies on the revenue from ticket sales, and cancelling our concerts has put us in a tough financial situation. This is a difficult time for all of us, but we ask that if you can donate, please do. Every dollar counts – and if everyone who watches these videos gives even just $1, we’d be in a pretty good spot.

Please donate to ECO at – any amount helps!

The first edition will feature an introduction to the Musical Moments series and a performance of Bach and Chopin by James Spear, ECO’s President of the Board. In addition, ECO’s Music Director William “Bill” Hill will talk for a few moments about the current situation we find ourselves in and how you can help.

Chopin’s Etudes Op. 10 and 25 are staples of the standard piano repertoire, and the Etude in C Major Op. 10, No. 1 is the first of the set. The piece features arpeggiated chords spanning a tenth, which presents unique technical challenges for the player. The pianist must develop the ability to rapidly expand and contract their hand and maintain constant lateral motion of their elbow in order to execute these patterns. Many etudes featuring arpeggiated chords spanning a fifth or an octave existed in Chopin’s lifetime, but he was the first to open up the span of a tenth in this manner. Executed well, this wonderful miniature features washes of color and subtle inner melodic lines.

Bach’s Well-Tempered Clavier is considered one of the greatest achievements of western art music. These two books feature 24 preludes and fugues each, spanning every single major and minor key in chromatic succession. This is one of the first such collections of pieces in all keys, owing to Bach’s use of a new “well-tempered” tuning system. Prior to Bach’s lifetime, keyboard instruments were tuned to so-called “perfect” temperament, which made keys with few sharps or flats like C Major, F Major, etc.. sound wonderful but those with many (B Major, G-Flat Major, etc…) to be essentially unplayable. Bach was at the forefront of musical technology in his day – in addition to being the greatest composer of his time, he was also the leading organ technician! He adopted a well-tempered tuning system that tuned all keys imperceptibly but very slightly out of tune so that all could be used by the performer. The Well-Tempered Clavier is the pinnacle of Baroque keyboard music and is the “daily bread” of any serious keyboard player.

James Spear has been playing music since grade school as a drummer and guitarist. His musical interests were primarily in rock and metal music, and he has composed dozens of hours of music in these genres. His most recent band, The Whiskey Masons, was the runner-up of the 2017 Westword Best of the West battle of the bands.

He developed an interest in classical music during his undergraduate studies in music business and music technology. After getting his MBA, this interest turned into a passion and he started playing the piano seriously in 2016.

James joined the board of the Evergreen Chamber Orchestra in early 2018 and became president of the board starting in the 2018 – 2019 season.

Please donate to ECO at – any amount helps!

Categories: ECO Musical Moments

1 Comment

thayerkk · April 13, 2020 at 4:38 pm

Terrific James!!
You should get people together to play on a Chamber Recital!

Leave a Reply

Avatar placeholder