Nature‘s frozen alchemy turns grapes to gold.
By Alexander Peartree
In the harsh winters of Germany, Canada and Upstate New York, winemakers have done for centuries that which alchemists strived to do in antiquity—create gold. Through manipulation of water, earth and vines, these masters transform the thin juice of grapes into a viscous nectar. Months after fall harvest, select clusters of Riesling, Vidal and the occasional Cabernet Franc remain on the vine, risking threats from mold and hungry vineyard pests. They hang in anticipation for that one bitter cold night in January, where they finally freeze solid—from pips to skin. Why would a vinter want frozen grapes? There is purpose, and there is desire, and the vintner has liquid gold on his mind. It is from frozen grapes that these modern-day alchemists create decadent ice wine—a golden elixir so sweet and vibrant, it’s as if joy and youth and even the summer sunshine are contained in every drop.
The Al Andalus Ensemble announced the passing of its cellist, Lori Presthus. She died away at home on November 20, 2013. She was a cellist, painter and jewel designer.
Lori Presthus was born in Ann Arbor, Michigan and grew up in the Los Angeles area. She chose the cello at a young age. She studied at Cal Poly State University at San Luis Obispo and graduated with a B.A. in Early Childhood Development. After college, Lori Presthus moved to Oregon, where she joined the Portland Baroque Orchestra.
Lori Presthus performed classical and contemporary cello extensively in the Pacific Northwest, playing in many venues including opera, ballet, musical theater and numerous chamber groups. In addition to the Portland Baroque Orchestra, she was also a member of the East-West Continuo.
In Portland she joined the Al Andalus Ensemble. In a joint press release, ensemble members Tarik, Julia, Emily, Laura, Gavin, Cristina, Charlie, and Zahra said: “Over the years, Lori has graced us with her radiant personality, beautiful music and art. We find ourselves at a loss for words: to say that Lori was a gifted musician, talented artist and dedicated friend does not communicate the gravity of the loss of our dear friend. She infused our lives with light!! She saw beauty in all things, and she helped the rest of us see it, too.”
Lori Presthus’ solo recordings include A Moment in Time (cello improvisations), Johann Sebastian Bach, Cello Suites 1-3, and Johann Sebastian Bach, Cello Suites 4-6.