Monday, June 28, 2010

Day 7

Sunday began a new chapter in our time here at Music10. After our final round of composer presentations, guest composer Martin Bresnick and guest pianist Lisa Moore arrived around lunch time.  It's really great to have them here! Several participants already knew them, so they have been catching up over meals and hanging out on the porch. Those of us who did not know them are enjoying getting to know them. As we have mentioned before, one of the big advantages of this festival is the continual interaction between everyone here. We get to know each other personally, as well as artistically.

(Music10 flutists Pethrus Gärdborn, Tim Munro, and Kelli Kathman)

That night we had our first concert, held in the Bartok Hall here at the Hindemith Centre. The performance mostly featured contemporary flute chamber music, but also included UNCLOSE by participant composer Hannah Lash. (Hannah's work was programmed on this concert because she needed to leave on Monday.) Scored for soprano, piano, and two percussion, UNCLOSE juxtaposed sung poetry with humming and percussive vocal effects, which were mirrored by brushing and murmuring in the instrumental parts. Soprano Lindsay Kesselman, pianist Erika Dohi, and percussionists Matthew Duvall and Christian Smith gave a wonderfully sensitive performance of this haunting, ethereal work.

The remainder of the program showcased our outstanding Music10 flutists: Pethrus Gärdborn, Kelli Kathman, and Tim Munro (the flutist of eighth blackbird). Tim and Kelli opened with Soaring by Helena Tulve, an Estonian composer. Tim described the work as being more like a tone poem than a flute duet, and I would agree. This piece began with the alto and bass flutes, and gradually ascended as the performers changed instruments. In addition to incorporating the colorful sounds of the different instruments, the work also made frequent use of sharp inhaling and exhaling, creating striking contrasts. The performers moved without pause into Australian composer Ross Edwards' Ecstatic Dances. Pethrus and Tim began playing on opposite sides of the room, emphasizing the antiphonal, bird-like dialogue of the music. They moved to the center as the music became more dance-like.

All three flutists played together for Self Portrait with Orlando by Joel Hoffman. A prototype of Hoffman's new style, the piece interpolates two of Hoffman's previous works with a deconstructed motet by Orlando di Lasso. The flutists played with a smoothly blended, vocal quality during the motet passages, and bright incisiveness during the faster sections. They closed the concert with Philip Glass' Music in Fifths. Written in 1969, this is one of Glass' truly relentless, uncompromising early works. Tim created a realization for three flutes, beginning on the low instruments and gradually ascending, as in the Tulve work. They performed this nerve-wrackingly difficult work with hypnotic fluidity. After page after page of relentless parallel fifths, the sudden ending felt like an explosion of silence.

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