Mom would have been proud

The Boston Globe, 3/25/91
by Richard Dyer

Over the last two decades countless concerts in New England have been enlivened and improved by the presence of one or another member of the Pearson clan of musicians. Oboist Peggy Pearson, now a freelancer in New York and a member of the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, still periodically comes back to town to play in significant events; her brother, violinist Mowry Pearson, is a member of the Apple Hill Chamber Players; and her cousin, cellist Beth Pearson, a founding member of Apple Hill, is a busy and prominent Boston freelancer.

Music runs in the family. 50 years ago, the late Eleanor Mowry Pearson was the first accompanist for the Masterworks Chorale, when it was founded as the Lexington Choral Society, and for 21 years she sang in the group. Saturday night, her children and her niece, joined by their friend pianist Robert Merfeld, performed a lovely concert in her memory, as a benefit for the Masterworks Chorale.

Mowry Pearson, Beth Pearson and Merfeld gave a charming and vivacious account of the Mendelssohn C-minor Trio, Op. 66; this was a real ensemble performance. Peggy Pearson appeared in two unusual works, three melodious “Romances for Oboe and Piano” by Clara Schumann and a Mozart Piano Trio (K. 502), with the oboe replacing the violin part to delightfully pungent effect. Perhaps the high point of the program came in the beginning with a trio for oboe d’amore, violin and continuo by Bach. Because of her long association with Emmanuel Music and the Cantata Singers, Peggy Pearson has probably played more Bach than any other oboist of her generation; this is music she plays in a state of eloquent grace. Allen Lannom, conductor of the Masterworks Chorale, read a poem about music and paid brief tribute to Eleanor Mowry Pearson; with all the Pearsons accompanying, the audience joined in singing two stanzas of a hymn celebrating the central concerns of her life, music, nature and the quest for peace.