The Concord Chamber Music Society got itself a birthday present to open its 10th season: a new trio for violin, clarinet, and piano from composer Michael Gandolfi, commissioned with funds from the Harvard Musical Association. “Line Drawings’’ was inspired by the improvisational fluidity of Picasso, but the resulting emphasis on melodic counterpoint also made for music in the spirit of Bach.
The five movements are all rounds and mirrors, echoes, and games. An energetic “Canon, Cut and Paste’’ is followed by “A Farewell to Old Friends,’’ a looped accompaniment and a stoic melody circling each other. “Hidden Variable’’ features Johann Sebastian himself behind the scenes, funneling scampering notes into a deconstructed chorale; “Obbligato Aria’’ finds a perpetually rising chaconne in the piano pasted over with self-similar fragments from the other two instruments. A bouncy finale, “Chickens,’’ domesticates Ligeti and lounge music in the same off-kilter, jazzy coop. It’s music of concise clarity...read full and original concert review on boston.com
The Concord Chamber Music Society celebrated their 10th anniversary with a performance at the Concord Academy auditorium in Concord, MA, on Sunday afternoon, September 20. They opened with some comfortable material before moving onto lesser-known lands... Lukas Foss’s Central Park Reel was another violin/piano duo. It’s best described as a caricature of a reel. The genre’s essential enthusiasm was doubled over on itself in a cascade of rhythms (the final section fed the violin through a delay pedal for a real barnstorming — unfortunately, sloppy volume control overwhelmed the piano). While a lazier composer would’ve made a minimalist reel and smiled with smug post-modern satisfaction, Foss dove into the nuances of his material and had fun. Sure, the premise was a little cerebral, but the mind at work was genuinely playful and joyous.
A commission from Michael Gandolfi marked the society’s anniversary. His note indicated that Line Drawings was modeled after Picasso’s single-gesture works. The music was a set of five sketches for violin, clarinet, and piano, each written in under three days with emphasis on a single gesture. The writing in each was strong and clear, but the whole set had a kind of “box of chocolates” effect. You’re happy when you get, for example, the chocolate-covered apricot. The marshmallow you might not take on its own, but it’s fine enough when taken with the rest. In all, the set was pleasant and refreshing...read the original and full review at classical-scene.com
Labels: Christopher Brubeck, Concord Chamber Music Society, Concord Chamber Players, Lukas Foss, Michael Gandolfi, New Recording Project, Recording Project, Reference Recordings