Monday, January 14, 2008

Onute Narbutaite’s String Quartet No. 2: Atverk Uzmarsties Vartus (Open the Gates of Forgetfulness) .. And Aulis Sallinen On WETA/Library Of Congress

Thanks to the strong-arming of the concert producers at the Library of Congress, WETA-FM will be this evening featuring the delayed broadcast of a work of classical music by a living composer. Tonight at 9 PM, WETA-FM and the Library of Congress will be presenting, from the Coolidge Auditorium, the Corigliano String Quartet with oboist Thomas Gallant in Finnish composer Aulis Sallinen's Echoes from a Play, Op. 66


N. and I tremendously enjoyed, last night, the Vilnius String Quartet performance of Onute Narbutaite’s beautiful String Quartet no. 2 at the National Gallery of Art (free):

"The imagery of Onute Narbutaite’s String Quartet no. 2: Atverk uzmarsties vartus (Open the Gates of Forgetfulness) is both tragic and lyric. The quartetis a single movement marked by a minimal use of resources. The transparentpolyphonic texture renders each detail clearly. Individual sections of thequartet are separate domains of sound that reflect one another and intertwineonly at transitional moments. The course of development of the quartet isbased upon the juxtaposition of passive and active elements. Serene melancholyis dominant in the first section — the sound is muffled while newrhythmic pulsations of repeated seconds and thirds seem to strike new poeticassociations. The unreal, dreamy, and subconscious moods of the first sectionare overcome by the active element of the second, as diverse rhythmic patterns are achieved by the movement of sixteenth notes. Gradually rising to a higher register, the music moves to a climax that, in fact, brings no resolution. It is rather a kind of question mark, which is followed not by an answer but by a micro-reprise of the first section, a reminder only of the initial melancholy."
(c) Rūta Gaidamavičiūtė


No time or spirit for personal musical reflections on 2007, but I refer you to my friend Andras Goldinger's live concert list for Politics and Prose Book and Music Store and Coffeehouse:

Concerts of the Year: Pierre-Laurent Aimard (May 7 & 8, French Embassy)—Two mind-blowing recitals: Aimard meticulously put together an evening called “Collages-Montages” one night (including Ligeti, Stockhausen, Schubert, Beethoven, Schumann), then followed with “Programming Games” (including Reich, Nancarrow, and Bartók). I will never forget the sounds of one of Kurtág’s short pieces (from Játékok) being played by Aimard onstage, with a distant sound of another piano answering quietly (played by Tamara Stefanovich on an upright hidden in the back of the auditorium). It was magical; and at only $10 a concert, affordable even for a bookseller.

Hilliard Ensemble (Jan. 24, Freer Gallery)
Venice Baroque Orchestra (Feb. 21, Library of Congress)
Instant Composer’s Pool (ICP) Orchestra (March 31, Library of Congress)—in the great spirit of jazz, drummer Han Bennink played a solo with his drumsticks on the stage floor—Coolidge Auditorium will never be the same!
Academy of Ancient Music (April 29, National Gallery)
Erin McKeown (June 24, Kennedy Center)
Anat Cohen (Sept. 15, Bohemian Caverns)
Rudresh Mahanthappa & Kadri Gopalnath (Nov. 10, Freer Gallery)
Marta Topferova (Nov. 15, Czech Embassy)
Youssou N’Dour (Nov. 19, Kennedy Center)
Later the Same Evening, an opera inspired by five Edward Hopper paintings
(Dec. 2, National Gallery)
Two plays with lots of music: Peter & Wendy (June 19, Arena Stage) & The Second Shepherd’s Play (Dec. 13, at the Folger Shakespeare Theatre)
Terrence Blanchard Quintet, plus orchestra and guest vocalists Dee Dee Bridgewater, Kurt Elling, and Raúl Midón (Dec. 8, Kennedy Center)

Music Book of the Year: Alex Ross, THE REST IS NOISE (FSG)"

Living classical composer Onute Narbutaite.

Photo credit: (c) Aanonsas [Lithuania, European Union]. All rights reserved. With thanks.


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