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Review Of Concert
Fresh Out of the Package: Premieres of Ear and EyeAuros Group for New Music
May 1, 2004, 8:00 PM
This concert by the Auros Group for New Music consisted entirely of material by young, up-and-coming tonemeistersa risky proposition, as several such folks are a few years away from producing truly worthy material. Fortunately, the ensemble chose well; in fact, this proved to be one of the best Boston-area new music events of the 2003-04 concert season.
La Farfalla Verde (1002) by Armand Qualliotine takes its aesthetic cue from the supple, scrumptious sound of the bass flute, the focal instrument of this mixed quintet. Qualliotine infuses a wealth of color, contrast, and vim within the works low-key ethos. Its narrative curve architecture is imaginatively delineated. And the harmonic language employed finds a nicely considered balance between tonal focus and spikier verticals. Far more clangorous was Jason Eckardts amplified wind quartet 16 (2003), a compelling selection more vibrant than a hive full of honeybees in mid sugar rush. Its a pleasure to report that all its jittery energy and pervasive use of extended techniques is imaginatively harnessed in service to a sturdy binary structure outlining two large crescendos.
Little in Sean Heims When Wind Comes to Spare Bamboo (1995) suggests things Orientalin fact, its solo alto sax line seems more correctly a mating of jazz and Hebrew influences. But this is no reflection on the piece itself, an ardent, enjoyable cantilena tellingly littered with pitch bends and microtones. Suite: Eight Haiku by Richard Wright (2001) finds its composer, Judah Adashi, capturing the subtle emotive nature of this Japanese poetic format in a non-vocal environment. Scored for violin/marimba duo, its a personable, engaging opus with enough serious undercurrents to impart depth. And despite nods to Messiaen and Stravinsky, the sonic universe sounds fully personal.
Derek Bermel is to be congratulated for making his mixed quartet Language Instruction (2003) a splendidly effective example of the theatre piece genre. The "plot," a clever send-up of classroom teaching, brims with perfectly timed humor without using dialoguenothing is obscure or overstays its welcome. Best of all, theres musical as well as dramatic logic at work here. One can imagine successfully perceiving the work on a purely aural level without visual cues.
From the usual welter of fine performances by Auross members, one should especially mention Susan Galls fine flute playing in the Eckardt and Qualliotine, saxophonist Demetrius Spaneass emotive yet controlled presentation of the Heim, the spirited rendition of the Adashi by violinist Gregory Vitale and marimba player Aya Kaminaguchi, and the delightfully paced antics of clarinetist William Kirkley, violinist Christine Vitale, cellist Jennifer Lucht, and pianist Nina Ferrigno in the Bermel.