The Mail-Star
    Saturday September 24, 1994

    Cable, Arpin serve up vibrant Pops opener

    ....If Howard Cable is guilty of any musical sin, it's a peccadillo of excess.
    His arrangements are always rich and gorgeous, but sometimes, as in Friday's Symphony Nova Scotia Pops concert opener, there's a tad too much of it. Still, just hearing a live symphony orchestra, for the first time since April, is to be reborn to vibrancy and radiance.
    Ragtime and the Roaring Twenties was on the menu. And John Arpin, Canada's ragtime daddy, was on hand to help Howard serve it up.
    Arpin turns ragtime into cream. As he skims the mellowest of tones off the top of the piano with the smoothest of motions, you just want to grin and lick off your whiskers.
    He and Cable conducted a guided tour through the music of the first third of the century when the cakewalk turned into ragtime and after the horrors of the First World War, the Jazz Age was born.
    After the well-behaved guest's obligatory compliments to our home-town --our architecture, out food, our wonderful orchestra, etc -- Arpin got down to a remarkable solo piano treatment of St. Louis Blues.
    He packed every bar with as much pianistic lace and frills it could possibly bear, short of uprooting the bar line. It made our hearts pound and brought the blood to our cheeks.
    For his part, Cable spun the orchestra through the Charleston, the one-step, the two-step, the Leg of Mutton dance, a variety of Rodgers and Hart show tunes, a Showboat medley, Whistler and His Dog, and the Saints marching in while the Hallelujah chorus marched out.
    The orchestra played tight and bright, the trombones showboated gloriously, and everything sounded as fresh and promising as could be.

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