Mario at Merkin

It was a fantastic concert of music by Mario Davidovsky in honor of his 80th birthday tonight at Merkin in NYC. There were several veteran performers on hand, players I first met in 1979 at the Composers’ Conference that Mario still directs, now at Wellesley College. All the musicians, longtime Davidovsky advocates or not, projected the scintillating and lyrical gestures of this music vividly, and with pinpoint precision. It was a pleasure to hear such commanding performances.

Hearing a string of Mario’s pieces in succession brought home to me just what a remarkable body of work he has created. The music is full of high contrast juxtapositions yet manages to convey a sense of long line. The point of view is consistently contrapuntal, but with aerated, economical textures. Always, there is an a exquisite sense of timing – none of these pieces outstay their welcome.

Here are a few pictures. Mario taking a bow, with cellist Chris Finckel at right:

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Mario and I, after the concert:

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some Columbia classmates (l to r, Hayes Biggs, Sheree Clement, myself, Rick Baitz): IMG_3899

Mario speaking with another Columbia classmate, Eric Chasalow (Nice hat, Mario!):

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