MusicWatch Weekly: Notes of hope
While last week’s un-popular vote may have represented the last throes of a fearful Old Regime soon to be swept aside by a younger, more diverse world, we can draw hope from the signs of artistic renewal sprouting in Oregon. This week’s musical offerings include concerts featuring new music by composers of the nasty gender so victimized by the next chief executive, the premiere of a major work written under the shadow of the kind of repressive regime we hope we can avoid here over the next quadrennium, a multimedia work that favors environmental protection created by an African American composer , a new opera dealing with undocumented immigrants and a few musical museum pieces too. Please add your recommendations for this week’s music to the comments section below.
“Heart of a Forest”
Dj Spooky, November 9, Cheatham Hall, Portland’s World Forestry Center, November 10 Newport Performing Arts Center, 777 W. Olive Street, Newport, November 11. High Desert Museum, 59800 South Hwy 97, Bend.
Read my ArtsWatch preview of the multimedia performance born in an Oregon forest.
Collectif9, Alberta Rose Theatre, 3000 NE Alberta St. Portland.
Classical music concerts have been losing young listeners for decades now, and a big reason isn’t the music itself, but the archaic 19th century ways it’s usually presented. Visionary ensembles like Portland’s ARCO-PDX (which would have made a splendid opening act for this Friends of Chamber Music concert) and this Montreal nonet want to reach today’s audiences by bringing the music to them in ways that feel normal and relevant to their experience of every other kind of music. Their “Volksmobiles” program features amplification, rock concert style lighting, and folk inspired classical music by Bartok, Brahms, Piazzolla, contemporary Argentine American composer Osvaldo Golijov, and more.
collectif9 TEASER (eng version) from collectif9 on Vimeo.
Calidore String Quartet
Winningstad Theatre, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland.
The latest in the string of dynamic young string quartets Chamber Music Northwest has been bringing to Portland lately performs classics by Haydn and Mendelssohn and a new piece composed for them by young Pulitzer Prize winning composer Carolyn Shaw, of Roomful of Teeth.
November 10 – 13
Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave. Portland.
Read Claire Sykes’s ArtsWatch preview of Portland Piano International’s four day festival of modernist piano music.
Eugene Vocal Arts and Eugene Concert Choir
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene.
The big piece on the program is a genuine 18th century classic: the Magnificat of CPE Bach, whose own stirring music has unfortunately been overshadowed by his dad Johann’s and his ne’er-do-well fictional bro, PDQ. The latter’s Bluegrass Cantata ingeniously and sometimes hilariously blends familiar Baroque sounds with faux folk fun (“Go I now up Cripple Creek!”).
Classic Pianos, 3003 SE Milwaukie Ave, Portland.
Violinist Hannah Leland and pianist Aimee Fincher play an all-American program of great 20th century works by Charles Ives, Roy Harris, and the underrated one-time ‘bad boy of music,’ George Antheil — including the premiere of recently discovered arrangements of some of the Paris-New York-LA composer’s music to a 1947 film.
New Muses: Music by and about Women
November 11 and 13
PSU Choirs, First United Methodist Church, Portland.
Think of this enticing concert as the choral equivalent of last week’s Crazy Jane show: lots of music by Portland women (Bonnie Miksch, Renee Favand-See, Lisa Marsh and Stacey Philipps) who happen to be among the state’s finest and most broadly accessible composers. But this show also includes shows by other female composers: Hildegard von Bingen of the Middle Ages and Maddalena Casulana of the Renaissance; American composers Abbie Betinis, Susan LaBarr, the superb Carol Barnett, Rosephanye Powell and Portland’s Joan Szymko — and a new composition the choir commissioned from Jordan’s Shireen Abu-Khader.
Sound of Late
N.E.W. Expressive Works, 810 SE Belmont St. Portland.
The young Portland-Seattle new music octet plays a pair of world premieres, plus contemporary music by SoL’s Bryce C. Caster & Colin Firth, Amelia Coulter, Robin Heifetz, Simon Hutchinson, acclaimed young New York composer Nico Muhly, the great Finnish composer Kaija Saariaho, Daniel Webbon, and one of the Northwest’s most venerated contemporary composers, Vancouver BC’s Hildegard Westerkamp. The group is donating the ticket sales from this concert to the Southern Poverty Law Center to support their fight against bigotry and hate.
Portland Youth Philharmonic
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Portland.
Read my ArtsWatch feature about the orchestra’s premiere of Portland composer Tomas Svoboda’s Symphony #2.
“The Place Where You Started”
Portland State Opera, Studio Theater, Lincoln Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. Portland State University.
PSU’s acclaimed opera program has been renowned for four decades of presenting first class versions of the classics. Now they’re adding a fall production for new and unusual operas — including this world premiere by USC composer Mark Lanz Weiser and screenwriter/librettist Amy Punt, created especially for these PSU singers. The timely story involves a screenwriter’s turbulent relationship with an undocumented immigrant with a tragic past.
“The People United Will Never Be Defeated!”
Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Avenue, Portland.
American composer Frederic Rzewski’s revolutionary 1975 piano masterpiece suddenly sounds timely again — more than it would have been had it been performed at last summer’s Makrokosmos Project, as planned before being cancelled because of illness. Sponsored by DUO Stephanie & Saar, this free performance assembles some of Oregon’s finest pianists — Julia Lee, Lydia Chung, Susan Smith, Alex Schwarzkopf, Harold Gray and Deborah Cleaver— to perform Rzewski’s tribute to the Chilean people’s resistance to the newly imposed repressive regime that soon destroyed democracy and murdered thousands.
LaSells Stewart Center, Corvallis.
The star pianist plays music by Ligeti, Handel, Bach and Brahms.
Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland.
The steel string and harp guitarist and YouTube phenomenon brings his virtuosity to Portland.
Portland Opera To Go
Portland’5, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland.
Opera musicians perform a 50-minute, English language, family-friendly production of Engelbert Humperdinck’s Hansel and Gretel.
The Old Church,1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
Though better known for Classical and Romantic repertoire, 45th Parallel violinists Greg Ewer and Adam Lamotte are also Portland Baroque Orchestra veterans, and they join other historically informed specialists in Venetian Baroque music by Vivaldi, Monteverdi, Gabrieli, Marini and more.
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