San Diego New Music has been bringing top-shelf shows of new music to our town for more than two decades. Their goal is simple and utopian: to provide obstinate and compelling new jobs by living composers are programmed in festivals that took place over the course of some days that easily compete, in their object and shows, same events in other, larger cities. The second installment of the three-day SoundOn Festival, which is, Friday night, the ordinary title of San Diego New Music’s yearly event.
This is a society project; the musicians are usually be their own administrators and also being a publicity managers, and support for visiting artists comes in huge part from donors, whom some of them give housing for out-of-town players.
Friday evening’s concert in La Jolla Athenaeum Music & Arts Library’s was unique, a accurately curated, dissimilar set of new space work served by expert musicians in keen and impressive shows. The concert began and ended with more huge works performed by San Diego new Music’s resident ensemble, NOISE, the members of which are veterans and virtuosi.
Katherine Balch’s “musica spolia,” was an apt recognition to the fushion of avant-garde reflection and performative expertise these festivals commonly show. “Spolia” (which is the title of this year’s SoundOn festival) are little architectural residuals, like columns, that have been renovated into later buildings. Indeed, Balch’s work is a savvy recontextualization of bits of older musical object that have been woven into a new settings. Pieces that try the same gambit–dropping familiar materials into new textures–tend to make a mess up of a tawdry and genera; “new music” background. Balch’s piece creates a reading wherein these pieces, many of them tonal, are somehow meaningfully amalgamated into a new language. Pianist Christopher Adler spun out a squeamish series of minor piano arpeggios, and perpetual a whole traditional harmonic idea even as percussionist Morris Palter met with terrificly precise, visceral rhythms plays on a various setup that included packaging bubble wrap. Violinist Myra Hinrichs and flutist Lisa Cella were cruelly together in unison, jagged textures, guided along by the explication of Robert Zelickman’s commanding.
This time on bass clarinet “iridescent shadows” by Yan Ee Toh, featured Cella on flute and Zelickman. These fabulous players have working together on uncountable pieces, and their innate sympathy was pure as they moved very smoothly between opposing states of synchrony and conflict, verocity and entropy; Yan’s job is written able for the instruments, adventuring all wayr of sonic detail and extended techniques; the duo’s skill to provide these unfamiliar sounds confidently and skillfully helped bring this piece both clear and moving.
Franklin Cox, tThe cellist and composer, has been with San Diego New Music from the early beginning. Cox’s creative work is highly different, and he had two very diverse works on Friday’s program. His “Pedagogical Etude in F-sharp Minor,” posits itself alongside those teaching works of Bach, Bartok, and Chopin, which he performed on solo cello. Cox’s phrase before the show mentioned the music of Bohuslav Martinů, whose impact can be heard in the incandescent chromaticism, and extremes—tonal, registral, sonic, and expressive—of this interesting work. Another side of Cox’s unique and performance was shows in his “Duet for Bass Flute and Cello,” which had its world premiere with Miss Cella returning for the flute and the composer playing the cello. This is a diverse work: thorny and thick, each player evolving materials in seeming independence, being together only for a gripping moment, and then backward tracks. Cox’s music has been played in detail by San Diego New Music and is a musical icon of the group’s commitment to serving works of musical and intellectual stiffness in a warm and intimate rules.
Christopher Adler, the pianist gave the world-premiere of another awesome work, Adam Greene’s “Multiplicity” (six miniatures) from “Memos” for solo piano. In spite if the use of the term “miniatures,” this is an improved, not easy, and promising work that flushes out problems that surface in the inscription of Italo Calvino, by exploring, the expressive and sonic skill of the modern piano, almost in catalog form. The difficulty of Calvino’s mind, sources, and of course his techniques is shown here by a surprising and inspired set of programmatic textures, each of them whole original. The canon of contemporary concert-music is filled almost to great capacity with big pieces for solo piano, but Greene’s textures and the quasi-metaphorical thoughts that liven them up are striking and somewhat new. Adler was everywhere, moving easily between times of brutal virtuosity and contemplative, sustained near-silences.
The full supply of NOISE came back for Adam Borecki’s “Scorpio.” Borecki’s thing is wickedly clever and sort of magical, adjoining disparate elements into a winning, millennial, new-music sundae: shards of almost-identifiable melodies are served, combined, and juxtaposed; raucous and mercurial textures pummel us with serious atonal chaos, then set down into focused harmonic gulleys; a cheeky chorus of breathless melodicas disturbes the piece with a grand, almost sentimental, chorale. “Scorpio” has many, and many referents, some of them are cheerful, but the work as a whole appears as utterly serious. It sounded as if NOISE had been playing this part for longer than it has been in the world, each performer perfectly at home in this savage and captivating landscape.