Monday, March 19, 2012

Neighborhood Concerts

On Sunday I saw a great violin and piano recital at the Brooklyn Library presented as a part of Carnegie Hall's "Neighborhood Concerts" series. Jennifer Kho and Reiko Uchida played a program of American composers, all but one of them still living. It was my first encounter with Jennifer Higdon's music, they opened with her piece "String Poetic". It was very exciting rhythmically, and there was a passage where the pianist mutes the strings with her hand while the violin plays pizzicato (plucked strings), making a surprisingly similar timbre.
The non-living composer in question was Lou Harrison. I love a lot of Harrison's work (see this post on performing his "Varied Trio"), but I admit that I only liked parts of this piece, called "Grand Duo". One of the highlights was the pianist's use of an "octave bar" used to play smashing clusters of all the notes within an octave simultaneously. This was used to great effect in the "Polka" movement that concluded the piece. There was a very ominous atonal slow movement , which is a side of Harrison's music I haven't heard much of, but he did study with Schoenberg.
There's a few more of these concerts left, go see them!

No comments:

Post a Comment