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What is the New Music Champion Award?


A Fertile Conference Blooms in the Arizona Desert

Book Review

Lullaby to Old Broadway
by Barry Drogin

Supplement to the Spring/Summer 2005 Issue:
The Schoenberg conference (unedited, unabridged)

Live Events

Peter Burwasser's
Philadelphia Report

Web Extras

Joseph Pehrson interviews Electra Slonimsky Yourke, the daughter of
Nicolas Slonimsky
with Sound Files

Alan Hovhaness
The Composer in Conversation with Bruce Duffie

Boston Live Events
by David Cleary

Sleeping, Waking, Dreaming: Dinosaur Annex Music Ensemble

Flutings and Floatings: A Concert of Music for Flute Composed by MIT Composers

Boston Symphony Orchestra

New England Conservatory Wind Ensemble

The Composers' Series

Contexts/Memories II: Celebrating Milton Babbitt's 90th Birthday

[nec] shivaree

Boston Musica Viva Celtics

Can You Hear Me Now? The Music of Howard Frazin

I Hear America: Gunther Schuller at 80

The Boston Conservatory 2005 New Music Festival

Boston Symphony Orchestra

Alea III: Soloists of Alea III

CD Reviews
by David Cleary

CD Reviews
by Dr. Helmut Christoferus Calabrese

Fresh American Sounds for Christmas

High Coos, Low Shrieks


The Repulsive CD (an alternate view)
by Joseph Pehrson

Alea III: Alea International

by David Cleary

Monday, March 21, 2005, 8:00 PM
Tsai Performance Center , Boston University , Boston , MA

When Alea III promises an "international" concert, they deliver.   Of the seven works heard, five were from composers hailing from all corners of Europe while the rest were based in the United States .

Two duos provided the evening's most satisfying aural experiences.   For violin and cello, The Swan by American composer Lawrence Moss speaks brusquely but unfolds in compelling fashion.   Motivically tight, it outlines a large-scale diminuendo shape that persuades without seeming the least bit derivative.   Estonian Mystic Minimalist Arvo Part presents one of his most successful short utterances in the piano/violin entry Fratres .   It imaginatively assembles a fetching quilt festooned with violin virtuoso figures, grounding it all with a brief cadential gesture that returns rondo-style throughout.

Three selections from An American Decameron by Richard Felciano (U.S.) and Dromenon II by Iakovos Konitopoulos (Greece), while scored for the same Pierrot -plus-percussion-plus-voice ensemble, sound quite different, thanks to the former's clangorous harmonic language and discontinuous accompaniments versus the latter's somewhat fuller backing textures and unabashed modalism .   But both do provide tellingly idiomatic lines for their mezzo-soprano soloist to sing.   Decent listens both.

French tonemeister Gilbert Amy's En Harmonies works less well, lacking convincing long-range architecture, exhibiting marginal logic in its forward motion, and possessing more than its share of flat-out ugly writing for its solo harpist.   Neither In Memoriam Bledi Llangozi for solo cello by Albania 's Altin Volaj nor Cut II for mixed sextet by Germany 's Bernd Franke proved wholly successful either, but these at least contained one riveting passage each.   Volaj's work ends with the cellist quietly singing a haunting tune while strumming simple chords, an arresting foil to the more generically athletic music that precedes .   Cut II begins promisingly enough with striking up-bow crescendi in the two violins and viola, but quickly runs out of ideas.

Performances were generally good.   Harpist Judy Saiki dealt with En Harmonies's often crabbed writing with commendable grace, while Mark Simcox's easy, fluid virtuosity nicely suited Volaj's entity.   Krista Buckland Reisner occasionally struggled with the challenging violin part in Fratres , but was consistently strong in Moss's composition (joined ably here by Simcox ).  Angelica Cathariou boasted a bright, penetrating voice with more power than the average mezzo-soprano, though her Greek diction was truer than her heavily accented English.   Conductor Theodore Antoniou confidently led his players in the Franke and the two vocal items.

Not everything encountered on this trip around the musical world proved memorable, but enough pleased here to justify attending this worthwhile concert.