The composer’s life was upended by a world disaster. Pressured into isolation, dealing with a deeply unsure future, he solid about for a approach to preserve his artwork alive. Utilizing the scant supplies at hand, he composed a bit that grew to become an immortal doc of his time.
It could sound like a scene from 2020, however the 12 months was 1941, and Olivier Messiaen, a religious Roman Catholic, was experiencing the disaster of World Struggle II as a window into eternity. Sitting in a German prisoner-of-war camp, he composed Quartet for the Finish of Time for the one musical devices out there: clarinet, violin, cello and piano.
That influential piece has impressed a mini-repertoire of works for its unconventional forces, in addition to chamber teams shaped expressly to carry out it. Among the many latter is Unheard-of//Ensemble, which was offered Saturday afternoon by Miami-based Kaleidoscope MusArt. The richly expressive on-line efficiency of the quartet was flanked by two of its latest offspring, Morgan Reed Greenwood’s Six Bagatelles for clarinet, violin, cello and piano and Liliya Ugay’s After the Finish of Time.
Within the recorded live performance, viewers noticed the musicians—Ford Fourqueran, clarinet; Matheus Souza, violin; Issei Herr, cello; and Daniel Anastasio, piano–maskless and barely distanced from one another, performing in a small area bristling with microphones (and presumably cameras). Unobtrusive post-performance audio and video enhancing by Fourqueran gave the stream full of life, clear sound and a wide range of well-chosen digital camera angles.
That set the stage to understand each the wealth of the composers’ imaginations and the tremendous particulars the gamers introduced out within the scores.
The occasion’s general title, “Dialogue │ Juxtaposition,” would in fact do for any well-planned live performance program, however right here it instructed a dialog amongst historic eras, together with the brand new items. The Messiaen’s fellow vacationers on this program had been as totally different because the years through which they had been composed: 2019 and 2020.
Greenwood’s epigrammatic Bagatelles, every a tiny valentine to a detailed buddy named in its title, evoked photos of a convivial time that, one 12 months plus into the Covid age, is starting to really feel like historical historical past.
Ugay’s music, then again, embraced Messiaen’s imaginative and prescient of a outing of joint, however in present-day phrases, and with out the French composer’s theology.
Greenwood’s piece, a winner of Kaleidoscope MusArt’s Beethoven-year competitors for bagatelles, led off the live performance with a bouquet of musical in-jokes, following a convention as outdated as Rameau and as current as Bernstein. The actions included “Salutation (for you),” perky and staccato; “Audiobook of the Lifeless (Burt),” wrapped in Mussorgskian gloom; “Procedural Particulars for Gainful Employment (Josh & Hop),” for soulful clarinet and nervous violin; “Falling Up the Down Staircase (Kalo),” one fast run up the piano keyboard; “A Small Assortment of Birds (Matt),” a meditative cello solo; and “Warmest Regards (for everybody, briefly),” a full-ensemble sendoff with extra chicken calls. The gamers deftly characterised every bagatelle and, at barely a minute every, the microworks actually didn’t overstay their welcome.
Name it the tip of days, or slouching towards Bethlehem, or no matter, one thing new appears about to be born amid the social disorientation of 2020-21. Ugay, a composer and pianist with a longstanding curiosity in what she calls “socially-inspired music,” has caught a whiff of it in After the Finish of Time, which introduced Saturday’s live performance to a vivid but in the end enigmatic shut.
The sympathy for the underdog that impressed Ugay’s current live performance collection titled “Silenced Voices” (that includes rarely-heard Soviet composers) right here impressed her to take Messiaen’s apocalyptic imaginative and prescient down into the turbulent streets and lonely entrance rooms of 2020.
On Saturday, the piece’s 5 actions—actually 4, plus a ghostly epilogue—opened with “Chaos,” with the piano dashing this manner and that amid dissonant interjections, then fell again into “Isolation,” a mushy, dejected dialogue principally for piano and clarinet. “Protest” hit the streets once more, with livid, Messiaenic syncopations driving the shouts and cries, solely to be resolved in “Unification,” which opened hymn-like in euphonious thirds and sixths earlier than rising to extra impassioned dissonance.
And what comes after “after the tip”? A last motion, “Aftersounds,” stole by in near-silence, damaged solely by the occasional, dimly-overheard phrase, ending the piece (and the live performance) with a single, smothered notice on cello and piano.
Saturday’s efficiency left nothing to be desired for daring, engaged execution and first-rate ensemble enjoying.
The identical may very well be mentioned for this system’s centerpiece, the good Messiaen work that’s the raison d’être for ensembles like this one. The cramped performing space, considered on a small display screen, created the sensation of an exploration of inside area fairly than the cosmic vistas the work evokes in a church or a big corridor, however there was ample satisfaction available in ensemble actions such because the slyly syncopated “Liturgy of Crystal,” the quiet however intense “Vocalise, for the Angel who broadcasts the tip of Time,” and the “Interlude” that offered merry aid from all of the questing and questioning.
Particular person gamers confirmed marvelous management of breath or bow arm as Messiaen glimpsed eternity within the work’s vastly sustained actions: “Abyss of the birds” for clarinet, “Reward to the Immortality of Jesus” for violin, and above all Herr’s cello in “Reward to the Eternity of Jesus.”
In sum, this was a kind of chamber music concert events whose juxtapositions sparked a dialogue within the thoughts that continued lengthy after the final notice.
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