“Multiple Modernisms” by New York’s spunky counter)induction

10/11/2011

 Davidovsky, Babbitt, Bartlett, Feldman, Boulez, Scelsi, Webern: Matthew Levy (guest saxophone), counter)induction, Tenri Cultural Institute, New York City. 30.10.2011 (BH) 

Mario Davidovsky: Quartetto #4 (2005)
Milton Babbitt: Whirled Series (1987)
Kyle Bartlett: La figure se brûle (1997)
Morton FeldmanFour Instruments (1975)
Pierre Boulez: Anthèmes I (1991)
Giacinto Scelsi: Tre Pezzi (1928)
Anton Webern: Quartet, Op. 22 (1928)

 

Benjamin Fingland, clarinets
Miranda Cuckson, violin
Jessica Meyer, viola
Sumire Kudo, cello
Steven Beck, piano
Kyle Bartlett, composer
Douglas Boyce, composer
Ryan Streber, composer
Matthew Levy, saxophone (guest artist)

 

A full house was on hand for Multiple Modernisms, an evening of (mostly) late 20th-century chamber music treats, served up by counter)induction at Tenri Cultural Institute. Although by odd coincidence, the seven pieces clocked in at about nine minutes each, most similarities ended there.

Mario Davidovsky’s Quartetto #4 is designed to be a study in contrasts, with a clarinet spiking a violin, viola and cello. In practice, it seems almost like a mini-tone poem, with more vibrancy per square inch than in some works three times its length. The four instruments seem scurrying on independent paths; just when the three strings surge forward, the clarinet begins to relax, and vice-versa. Benjamin Fingland (clarinet), Miranda Cuckson (violin), Jessica Meyer (viola) and Sumire Kudo (cello) made the strong, attentive foursome. Similar unpredictability surges through Milton Babbitt’s Whirled Series, for saxophone and piano, given pungency and drive by Matthew Levy (of the Prism Quartet) and Steven Beck.

An early piece by Kyle Bartlett, La figure se embrûle, grew from her fascination with disappearance, and showed Mr. Beck’s fluency with a Debussy-like idiom. It made a fine bridge to the subtle Feldman Four Instruments (piano, violin, viola and cello) that followed, marked “extremely quiet” – which it was, gracefully, and with an energy quite different from the composer’s longer musings.

After intermission came Ms. Cuckson in Boulez’s virtuosic Anthèmes I, seven short sections of trills, harmonics and glissandos. Boulez packs in such concentrated energy that his score seems much longer than it actually is, and one could only marvel at how easily Cuckson seemed to breathe its rarified air. Mr. Levy returned for Giacinto Scelsi’s Tre Pezzi, inspired by the composer’s explorations on an Ondiola, an Italian electronic keyboard with the ability to produce microtones. Levy’s tenor sax beautifully sculpted its obsessive, introverted qualities. Anton Webern’s Quartet for clarinet, tenor saxophone, violin and piano (interestingly from the same year as the Scelsi) is a gorgeous, two-movement example of his aphoristic style. Mr. Fingland, Mr. Levy, Ms. Cuckson and Mr. Beck not only gave it a highly polished reading, but added that sometimes indefinable excitement that accompanies a world premiere – not bad for a piece written over eighty years ago.

Bruce Hodges

Comments

Comments are closed.

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • UPDATED! 2019-20 at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden __________________________________
  • NEW! Bregenz Festival 17 July – 18 August 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Sergei Polunin and Friends at London Palladium 28 May – 1 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! City of Birmingham Symphony Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 Elgar Festival in Worcester from 30 May to 2 June __________________________________
  • NEW! Musikfest Berlin 2019 from 30 August to 19 September __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 BBC Proms 19 July – 14 September __________________________________
  • NEW! Tonhalle Orchestra Zurich in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Zurich Opera House in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! English National Opera in 2019-2020 __________________________________
  • NEW! Leeds Lieder Announces 2019 Art-Song Festival __________________________________
  • NEW! Adrian Partington Introduces the 2019 Three Choirs Festival in Conversation with John Quinn __________________________________
  • NEW! ENB in 2019-2020 and Updates on their New London City Island Home __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music and Other Events at the Southbank Centre in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Longborough Festival Opera’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Cleveland Orchestra in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • NEW! Classical Music at the Barbican in 2019-20 __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR THOMAS SANDERLING IN CONVERSATION WITH GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! YOUNG RUSSIAN PIANIST ALEXANDRA DOVGAN TALKS TO GREGOR TASSIE __________________________________
  • NEW! Chelsea Opera Group Perform Anton Rubinstein’s The Demon on 30 June __________________________________
  • NEW! When Music is Indistinguishable from Drama by Jack Buckley __________________________________
  • NEW! In August Fulham Opera’s Most Ambitious Project to Date – Die Meistersinger Von Nürnberg __________________________________
  • R.I.P. IN MEMORIAM ANDRÉ PREVIN (1929-2019) __________________________________
  • NEW! CHRISTOPHE ROUSSET IN CONVERSATION WITH COLIN CLARKE __________________________________
  • PIANIST MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • A Q&A WITH ITALIAN BARITONE FRANCO VASSALLO __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month