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Contemporary Music Forum at the Corcoran Gallery

Tuesday April 24, 2007

CMF director Steve Antosca
The Washington Post 4/24/07:  With its dedication to cutting-edge programming, the Contemporary Music Forum does that most important (if rare) thing in music -- it takes risks. And as often as not, as Sunday's concert at the Corcoran Gallery showed, those risks pay off, exposing fine and thought-provoking new works by little-known composers.

Self-described "timbral explorer" Judith Shatin takes an evident delight in the textural possibilities of sound, and her "Secret Ground" played freely with extended techniques for flute, clarinet, cello and violin. But Shatin never used effects for their own sake. This was highly inventive music on every level: hugely enjoyable and deeply involving, with a constant sense of surprise.

Leon Kirchner's "For Violin Solo" was written as a competition piece, and came off that way -- a cerebral tour de force, played with nonchalant virtuosity and penetrating intelligence by James Stern.

Pianist Jenny Lin
Two video works followed, with mixed results. Steve Antosca's "such a pure force" explores the transition between life and death, and his absorbing score of processed percussion and voice (coupled with imagery of buckyballs, abstracted spermatozoa and sheet music curving through infinite space) created an absorbing meditative effect.

Frederick Weck's "Video VII" fared less well -- colorful blobs set to directionless, chime-heavy music are only so interesting -- but Jeffrey Mumford's solo piano work "a landscape of interior resonances" was a spectacular powerhouse, especially as played by Jenny Lin, one of the most perceptive interpreters of new music around. Different but no less engaging was Laura Schwendinger's "High Wire Act," a charming work inspired by Alexander Calder's circus figures.

Posted on Tuesday, April 24, 2007 at 12:29PM by Registered CommenterStephen Brookes | CommentsPost a Comment

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