Mario at the Americas Society

ICE presented an all-Davidovsky concert last Friday at the Americas Society in New York, and the program covered a remarkable span of time. The earliest piece was the Chacona for piano trio dating from 1971, and the newest was from this year, a premiere for flute, clarinet, piano, percussion, and four strings called Divertimento No. 8, “Ambiguous Symmetries”.  This was Mario’s return to composing after a hiatus of several years, and although he described it in an intermission conversation has having an entirely different syntax from his earlier music, it still had the electric crackle, sly wit, and poignant lyricism for which his music is so admired. The program began with soprano Tony Arnold’s vivid rendition of Romancero, a set of four songs on anonymous Spanish texts. Here a mixed quartet of strings and winds frame the voice with alert gestures, or shadow it with plaintive musings. David Bowlin was a brilliant soloist in the Synchronisms No. 9 for violin and electronic sound, with the live and recorded elements merging into a hybrid “super-instrument”. It was beautiful to see the young players of ICE advocating for this music with such passionate commitment, and reassuring to know that the tradition of virtuosity called for by this body of work continues.

Here’s Mario during that intermission talk:

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Thursday Miscellany

– I was sad to see that Frank Music has closed. I’ve not experienced any combination of internet resources that can compare with going into a shop, leafing through every page of a score, comparing it with another edition of the same piece, consulting with a knowledgeable salesperson about options, and fortuitously finding items that you didn’t know you needed, beyond anything an Amazonian algorithm can offer.

– an all-Davidovsky concert with ICE is coming tomorrow, March 13, at the Americas Society in NYC, including the premiere of a new piece.

– go here for a podcast in which Charles Rosen talks about Chopin, illustrating his points at the piano.