Wednesday, November 10, 2010

CIM: Harmonic Hues (CIM@MOCA)

Donatoni: Arpege (1986)
Thomas: TOFT Serenade (2005)
Thomas: Scat (2007)
Knussen: Songs without Voices, Op. 26 (1991-92)

I'm not sure if I used CIM's concert as an excuse to visit MoCA Cleveland or if I used MoCA Cleveland as an excuse to hear CIM's concert, but either way it proved an interesting experience. Despite my artistic tastes gravitating to the modern/contemporary for some reason, previous to tonight I had not visited Cleveland's Museum of Contemporary Art. As a non collecting museum MoCA stages exhibitions bringing together art from outside collections. Currently on view Seth Rosenberg: The Cleveland Years; Duke Rilely: An Invitation to Luberland; and assume vivid astro focus: ilegitimo.

Duke Rilely's An Invitation to Luberland was a compelling multimedia tour through the hobo life in Cleveland and the Kingsbury Run encampment (and serial killers) -- one of Elliot Ness's (former Cleveland Public Safety Director turned FBI Man) failures... I can think of few exhibitions that so clearly pulled the viewer along.

As for the music, new music is still a taste I'm working to acquire: Like some modern art it doesn't necessarily make sense on first blush, given the ephemeral nature of new music, unlike the relatively static nature of new art it's difficult to simply stare at it until the details emerge. That was my challenge with the majority of the pieces on tonight's program.

Franco Donatoni's Arpege (Mackenzie Danner, flute; Mikola Djurica, clarinet; Anthony Bracewell, violin; Carlos Javier, cello; Talisa Blackman, piano; Nathan von Trotha, vibraphone; Keith Fitch, conductor) initially struck me as chaotic -- much like the large mural in front of which the evening's concerts were performed -- but the relationship of the individual instruments with respect to the piano gave an interesting core to listen for. The difference between Mr. Fitch's rounded and graceful movements conducting and the somewhat punctuated sound of the music added interest in visual and auditory contrast.

Augusta Read Thomas's TOFT Serenade (Charles Morey, violin; Frank Huang, piano) was my favorite piece of the program in two parts--the program notes indicate that the transition is seamless, but there was little doubt in my mind about the transition between the two--the work begins with a violin serenading an unseen lover with the piano talking the role of the strumming guitarist. The second portion was said to evoke the success of the serenade and the lover claiming down from her window...the sensation came and went for me, but none the less it was an enjoyable piece to here.

Thomas's next piece Scat (Daniel Rios, oboe; Anthony Bracewell, violin; Annalisa Boerner, viola; Joshua Zajac, cello; Frank Huang, piano) didn't really resonate with me musically and nor did I get the sense of a relationship to the jazz style from which the piece took its name and the program notes made explicit reference to.

Ending the program, Oliver Knussen's Songs Without Voices (Mackenzie Danner, flute; Daniel Rios, English horn; Nikola Djurica, clarinet; Zane Biddle, horn; Charles Morey, violin; Hari Bernstein, viola; Joshua Zajac, cello; Talisa Blackman, piano; John Young Shik Concklin, conductor)... hmm. The first of the four songs (Winter's Foil) opened in a quite ear-catching way but ultimately the noise of my thoughts [as of tonight, I am again unquestionably single unlike the questionably single state that I've lingered in for a couple weeks] took over.

(By the way...whomever the anonymous CIMer is who shared my blog yesterday -- and the people who have read as result... thanks!)

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