Our Strength, Our Song
Our Strength, Our Song celebrates the work of six Canadian women in duos for violin and cello, from seminal composers Violet Archer and Jean Coulthard, to the composers of today; Rebekah Cummings, Alice Ho, Barbara Monk Feldman and Jocelyn Morlock. Spanning 40 years, closely mirroring the age of the performers, sisters Akemi Mercer-Niewoehner and Rachel Mercer, the music includes five premiere recordings and three new commissions. Ranging from the neo-romanticism with modernist flair of Archer and Coulthard, through the conceptual yet intuitive aesthetic of Monk Feldman, to the unique influences of the three new commissions, the album explores the relationship between two voices, two people, women, and sisters.
Performing together since they were children, violinist Akemi Mercer-Niewoehner and cellist Rachel Mercer have an instinctive musical connection. Supported also by a varied but similar musical education, they share a natural understanding of how to communicate music to the listener. Their repertoire includes the standard duos for violin and cello, much of the string trio repertoire, and the major piano trio repertoire, including all of Haydn’s Piano Trios with pianist Gregory Oh as the Mercer-Oh Trio. Regular chamber musicians in various formations, they also hold titles in major orchestras; Akemi is Assistant Principal Second Violin of the Frankfurt Radio Orchestra, and Rachel is Principal Cello of the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa. With this album, they hope to encourage the performance of these older works and contribute in a meaningful way to the Canadian duo repertoire.