REVIEW (HT New Music Ensemble): MUSIC REVIEWS: Riveting, reverential: Concerts reflect composers’ views


MUSIC REVIEWS: Riveting, reverential: Concerts reflect composers’ views

By Peter JacobiH-T Reviewer |
December 3, 2012

Click here for Pacifica Quartet part of this review >

New Music

Thursday evening’s New Music Ensemble concert consisted of works that could not have been much newer: a 2005 piece re-mastered in 2012, a 2010 composition and a world premiere. David Dzubay, the ensemble’s director and indefatigable searcher for the new, conducted all three, including his own, the above-mentioned premiere.

It is called “Producing for a While” and was inspired by a poem of that title by the American poet Julie Choffel. The words amount to repetitive doggerel from a woman unhappily involved in some sort of creative project; they’re built on the line, “I think I’m done with producing for a while.” Soprano Lindsey McLennan sang those words with appropriate exasperation and was backed by an instrumental ensemble of 20, dishing out amusing musical stutters. The score definitely holds charm.

Twelve wind and percussion players along with a guitarist supplied the sounds for “the art of disappearing,” an intriguing work fashioned in 2005 (refashioned in 2012) by Paula Matthusen, a composer from Wesleyan University, who was present at the concert. Matthusen’s imagination also was roused by a poem, that of another U.S. writer, Naomi Shihab Nye. The composer’s program notes state her music is meant to invoke “the delicacy of sonic interactions in both exterior and interior spaces.” One could read that into what one heard: rises and falls in dynamics ranging from mere blown-out breath to sophisticated cacophony.

Both the Dzubay and Matthusen compositions benefited from brevity; they said what they were meant to say in compression and were the stronger for it. Matthias Pintscher’s “sonic eclipse,” to the contrary, went on and on and on through three extended movements, all designed to represent the wonders and mysteries of the cosmos. The sounds produced suggested such but would have done so with far greater impact if seriously and judiciously pruned. Soloists John Rommel on trumpet and Jeff Nelson on horn shaped the hushes and noises masterfully, as did the 18 other players. And Dzubay conducted with knowing conviction as, indeed, he did all evening.

Copyright: 2012


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