MusicWatch Weekly: scary sounds

Scary times deserve scary music in Oregon this week

There’s a lot to be afraid of these days, and this week’s Halloween and other concerts offer plenty of spooky music to suit the times.

Chamber Music Northwest brings America’s leading new music ensemble, the Kronos Quartet, back to Portland for an ideal Halloween spectacle: a live performance of venerable American composer Philip Glass’s 1999 score (with Glass himself playing keyboards) to the classic 1931 film starring Bela Lugosi.
Wednesday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway Ave. Portland.

The Korea-born, Seattle-raised composer/violinist/singer who moved to Portland from LA last year opened for Amplified Repertory Chamber Orchestra of Portland last February. Now electric classical band returns the favor in this release concert for Migrants, Kye’s second release, which ranges from pop to jazz and even a bit of rapping. Along with Kye’s looping violin and vocals, the show includes Portland’s BRAVO Youth Orchestra and Northwest Dance Project’s Ching Ching Wong, with whom Kye embarks on a world tour. Read Jamuna Chiarini’s story on the collaboration.
Friday,  Alberta Abbey, Portland.

Joe Kye opened for ARCO-PDX last February.

Naomi LaViolette
Portland classical fans know her as the longtime accompanist for Oregon Repertory Singers, but LaViolette is also a composer and  sincere, ‘70s style singer-songwriter who’s performed at PDX Jazz Festival, Doug Fir, and Jimmy Mak’s. She also written for ORS, some of whose singers join musicians from the Oregon Symphony, the Oregon Repertory Singers and Grammy-wining oboist Nancy Rumbel in this CD release concert for her new CD, Written For You.
Saturday, Old Church Concert Hall, 1422 SW 11th Ave, Portland.

Portland Baroque Orchestra
The tragedy of Orpheus, which is still being set by composers (Philip Glass did a recent version), has been part of opera since the very beginning — and this 1607 version by Claudio Monteverdi is among the first operas and the first Baroque masterpieces, though echoes of Renaissance music remain. This historically informed Pacific MusicWorks production led by Grammy-winning Seattle based early music master Stephen Stubbs should bring us as close to Monteverdi’s intentions as possible in a concert reading.
Friday, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, Portland.

Senju Matsunami
Accompanied by traditional dance and shakuhachi flute, venerable koto master plays classical Japanese tunes, adaptations of Western music, and more.
Saturday, Winningstad Theatre, Portland.

Dave Douglas & The Westerlies
Alas, one great jazz event — piano master Brad Mehldau’s solo performance at Lewis & Clark College — is sold out, but you can still see another fiercely creative yet fully accessible modern jazz genius, trumpeter/composer Dave Douglas, along with Seattle/New York brass quartet The Westerlies, with help from drummer Anwar Marshall. Douglas wrote the charts for this collaborative project inspired by the work American painter Stuart Davis, and the Westerlies help him take it from there.
Saturday, Jack London Revue, Portland.

Eugene’s Mood Area 52 plays its live score to the classic film ‘Nosferatu.’

Mood Area 52
The Eugene steampunky band brings its annual performance of their splendid live score (electric guitar, cello, accordion, bass, horns, toy piano, percussion) to F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu back from the grave, along with scenes “Haxan” a ‘batshit weird’ early 20th century witchcraft documentary.
Friday, Bijou Cinemas, Eugene, and Saturday, Hollywood Theatre, Portland.

Portland Symphonic Choir
Guest conductor Erick Lichte, who also directs Vancouver BC’s renowned Chor Leoni, leads the chorus in the Portland premiere of  Seattle composer John Muehleisen’s epic The Pietà.
Saturday and Sunday, First United Methodist Church, 1838 SW Jefferson St. Portland.

Portland Youth Philharmonic
The precocious young musicians play Chopin’s second piano concerto, plus a fifth of Beethoven and a Dvorak overture.
Saturday,  Umpqua Community College’s Jacoby Auditorium, Roseburg, and Sunday, Oregon State University’s LaSells Stewart Center, Corvallis.

Oregon Symphony
Venerable San Francisco pianist Garrick Ohlsson joins the orchestra in Samuel Barber’s gruff, striking, Pulitzer-winning yet neglected 1963 Piano Concerto, plus a world premiere from one of England’s most renowned living composers,  Mark-Anthony Turnage’s elegiac Symphonic Movements. The concert also includes an arrangement of surviving fragments from the tenth symphony that Schubert didn’t live to finish, plus one of the most magnificent of all orchestral works, the last symphony Mozart actually did finish, number 41.
Saturday-Monday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.

The Byrd Ensemble
The terrific Seattle choir sings magnificent Renaissance motets by their namesake, Palestrina and Gibbons, plus 20th century classics by John Tavener, Stravinsky, Samuel Barber, and Arvo Part.
Sunday, St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Portland.

Las Migas
This Barcelona quartet teams four women from different Spanish cities (two Catalan) inspired by a mutual love of flamenco music, gradually adding other Mediterranean and even Latin influences, and incorporating dance into a flamenco fueled performance experience.
Sunday, Winningstad Theatre, Portland.

Hsu & Yu Play Brahms
The acclaimed young duo play some of Brahms’s most appealing chamber works, his sonatas for violin and piano.
Sunday, The Old Church, Portland.

Violinist Angelo Xiang Yu and composer/pianist Andrew Hsu perform at The Old Church. Photo: Jonathan Lange.

Halloween is especially scary this year because of who occupies the power centers in this country. The new music ensemble’s violist Kenji Bunch and pianist Monica Ohuchi team up in music that subverted or responded to unjust social contexts, Rebecca Clarke’s 1917 Morpheus (premiered under a male pseudonym to poke the sexist music establishment that refused to take women’s work seriously), Frederic Rzewski’s 1979 Winnsboro Cotton Mill Blues (exploitation of 1930s textile workers), Dmitri Shostakovich’s 1975 Sonata for Viola and Piano (weary response to a lifetime of danger and Soviet repression) and last year’s haunting Minidoka, Bunch’s beautiful response to a visit to one of America’s shameful World War II concentration camps that imprisoned innocent Japanese American citizens.
Noon Monday, The Old Church, Portland.

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