Earplay’s second concert of the season, given Monday at Herbst Theatre, included four highly individual pieces in the first half. The program ended with Elliott Carter’s amply proportioned Triple Duo from 1983, a virtuosic workout for all of its six players, ably led in this performance by the ensemble’s resident conductor, Mary Chun.
Volti’s Friday concert at Berkeley’s First Congregational Church shared the stage with three outstanding high school choirs: Head-Royce’s Colla Voce, the Acalanes High School Chamber Singers, and Ecco, Piedmont East Bay Children’s Choir.
Earplay’s 25th season of concerts began Monday with a program at Herbst Theatre featuring works by composers who have a Bay Area connection, past or present. The opening selection was Mexican-born Carlos Sanchez-Gutierrez’ provocatively titled and of course, Henry the Horse (2006), a collection of four short, attractive pieces scored for clarinets, violin, and piano duet.
Monday’s concert by the San Francisco Contemporary Music Players was titled “Made to Order,” an allusion to the highly inventive and original sonic landscape of every piece on the program. Or, it could just be an acknowledgment that three of the four pieces were commissioned for performance by the SFCMP.
Sheer inventiveness and originality were at the forefront of Earplay’s final concert of the season on Wednesday. This adventurous and enterprising group, which presents some of the best and most interesting contemporary music heard in the Bay Area, ended its 24th season with a fascinating, unusual program that looked both backward and forward from 1949 to the present.
Long considered to be one of his finest works, Benjamin Britten’s War Requiem of 1962 can be difficult to bring off successfully, even with the most skilled and dedicated professional musicians. All the more reason, then, to cheer UC Berkeley’s stirring and spectacular performance last Wednesday, before a large, enrapt audience in Zellerbach Hall. UC’s Marika Kuzma, who conducted, got it splendidly right.
Born a hundred years ago, just a single day apart, Olivier Messiaen and Elliott Carter, otherwise such strange musical bedfellows, had their December birthdays jointly celebrated Monday in San Francisco's Green Room, in a concert by the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble.
This year, Composers Inc. marks its 25th anniversary as an active, vital musical presence in the San Francisco Bay Area. Over the years, its loyal, supportive audiences have been grateful for the broadly eclectic programming and consistently high level of performances they have heard. Although a listener might not always agree with their choice of music, Composers Inc.
Earplay's 23rd season came to an end Wednesday night at Herbst Theatre with a concert of four chamber pieces written over the past quarter century, plus a major work by British composer Peter Maxwell Davies from 1975: his ample, richly textured Ave maris stella (Hail, star of the sea), for six instruments.