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Shadows are necessarily murky entities. They create spaces in which edges soften and distinctions blur. The program title “Flowing Shadows,” therefore, suited a concert emphasizing convergence between multiple artistic disciplines. This concert, given Saturday in the San Francisco Conservatory’s Hume Concert Hall, was the fourth of five performances in this year’s BluePrint series, a new-music program under the direction of Nicole Paiement. The overriding theme of BluePrint’s current season is “Crosscurrents ... where arts converge.”
Even though atonal music has existed for a long time, the composer Helmut Lachenmann has observed that many listeners are still so accustomed to tonal music that tonality continues to govern their listening habits. Such listeners might regard tonality as an intrinsic or “natural” musical system, against which contemporary music sounds, by contrast, “unnatural.” But Monday in Herbst Theatre, the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players performed a concert that associated contemporary music with nature. The concert did not, however, associate the natural with the familiar.
The music of Steve Reich can sound deceptively simple. After all, for about 50 years, his name has been associated with so-called minimalism. The term vaguely denotes music built from the repetition and layering of simple musical modules over harmonies and temporal pulsations that remain relatively constant. Yet at Stanford University’s Dinkelspiel Auditorium on Saturday, an all-Reich concert performed by So Percussion, a percussion quartet, made the virtuosic complexity of Reich’s music abundantly clear.