Weekend MusicWatch: Strange Arrangements

Daniel Okulitch as the Pirate King, Kevin Burdette as the Sergeant of Police and Ryan MacPherson as Frederic in Portland Opera’s The Pirates of Penzance, 2014. Photo: ©Cory Weaver / Portland Opera.

This weekend’s Oregon music calendar includes some odd re-imaginings and re-arrangements and unusual repertoire, perfect for the mom who thinks she’s heard it all before.

The Pirates of Penzance, Portland Opera, Friday and Sunday, and next Thursday and Saturday, Keller Auditorium, Portland. Oregon Shakespeare Festival artistic director Bill Rauch reimagines his sparkling 2011 OSF production of Gilbert & Sullivan’s ever-popular operetta. See Marty Hughley’s ArtsWatch story.

Portland Baroque Orchestra, Friday-Saturday, First Baptist Church and Sunday, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland. The always energetic historically informed ensemble plays rarely heard concertos by Telemann, Vivaldi, and other composers, arranged for odd, sometimes downright strange combinations of instruments. See my Willamette Week preview.

Portland Chamber Orchestra, Friday, Liberty Theater, Astoria and Sunday, Agnes Flanagan Chapel, Lewis & Clark College, Portland. The inventive small orchestra performs two unique versions of Mussorgsky’s classic. The first, composer Julian Yu’s arrangement that includes Chinese musical gestures and metal percussion instruments (vibraphone, glockenspiel, bells and celesta), also accompanies an experimental dance video created for this concert by Tiffany Fish and Peter de Grasse. The second, in its American premiere, incorporates composer/conductor Yaron Gottfried’s jazzy arrangement/recomposition (including swing, rock, Middle Eastern, reggae, calypso, New Orleans jazz and other elements) and his jazz trio with Gottfried on piano and veteran Portland jazzers Dave Captein and Gary Hobbs on bass and drums.

Oregon Symphony, Saturday and Monday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland. Soprano Tamara Mumford and tenor Anthony Dean Griffey star in Gustav Mahler’s majestic The Song of the Earth, and the orchestra plays one of Joseph Haydn’s exuberant London symphonies, No. 96, from 1791. Read Portland composer David Bernstein’s ArtsWatch appreciation of Mahler’s sumptuous 1908 symphony of songs.

Oregon Mozart Players, Saturday, Beall Hall, Eugene. The Czech-accented program program features music by the greatest Czech composer, Antonin Dvorak’s beautiful, dance-driven Czech Suite, the lush Idyll by Leos Janacek, UO trumpeter Brian McWhorter stars in another too-rarely heard concerto, by the Czech composer Johann Neruda and Mozart’s Don Giovanni overture, which premiered in Prague.

Camerata PYP,  Sunday, Wieden+Kennedy Building, Portland. The Portland Youth Philharmonic’s chamber orchestra plays Beethoven’s heroic Symphony #3.


Colin Davin, Friday, Marylhurst University’s Wiegand Hall, Portland. In this Portland Classic Guitar concert, one of the bright young stars of American classical guitar plays music by Bach, Dowland, Britten and more.

The Julians & Amy Cervini, Friday, Shaker & Vine, Portland. See my Willamette Week preview of Portland’s cross-genre-singing lady vocal quartet and the New York-based jazz singer.

Jina and Jennifer Darnell, Friday, Portland Piano Company. The singer and violinist join Our Lady of Lourdes children choir in springy songs from various traditions: Russian, Korean, English and more.

Dianne Davies, Pilgrim Lutheran Church, Beaverton. To benefit the Teachers Fund, the excellent pianist and two of her offspring present her comic take on classics from Mozart to Beethoven to Rimsky-Korsakov and much more, Dianne Davies Has Fallen Off Her Bench.

Michael Allen Harrison, Friday, The Old Church, Portland. The popular and generous pianist, who has played holiday concerts at the city’s historic concert venue for two decades, will donate proceeds from this performance to help upgrade the intimate old building’s sound and lighting facilities.

Oregon Chamber Players, Saturday, All Saints’ Episcopal Church, Portland. The ensemble plays an unusual program of music by Scarlatti and the lesser known French composers Caplet, Gossec, and Pierne.

Piano!PushPlay!, Saturday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University. Read my Willamette Week preview  of this CD release concert that benefits the community minded program that ArtsWatch profiled last year.

Sospiro rehearses music by Libby Larsen. Photo: Gary  Ferrington.

Sospiro rehearses music by Libby Larsen. Photo: Gary Ferrington.

University Singers, Oregon Composers Forum, Ova Novi Ensemble, Sospiro, Sunday, Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon. This combined concert and master class features works by one of the greatest living American composers, Libby Larsen, and by UO composers and will be live streamed at the link above.

Jill Timmons & Rhonda Ringering, Sunday, Coaster Theater, Newport. The pianists share a bench and a Yamaha grand in four-hand music by Dvorak, Poulenc, Chaminade, Gershwin, and Piazzolla.


Cantores in Ecclesia, Friday, St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, Portland. The superb large choir sings Renaissance music for Eastertide by Orlando di Lasso, Palestrina, Victoria, Taverner and more, including a contemporary composition by the great Scottish composer James MacMillan.

Vox Resonat, Saturday, Central Lutheran Church, Eugene. The excellent vocal ensemble joins an instrumental quartet in French medieval songs about spring, ranging from lusty dance numbers to courtly love songs.

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