Monday, March 10, 2014

Concert Review: Seattle Composers' Salon, 3/7/2012

"The Seattle Composers’ Salon fosters the development, performance and appreciation of new music by regional composers and performers. At bi-monthly, informal presentations, the Salon features finished works, previews, and works in progress."

Aaron Keyt: Sonata after Haydn - Keith Eisenbrey, piano
Mr. Keyt announced before Keith played this piece that it was a reworking (based on his musical upbringing between the twin pillars of modernism: serialism and aleatory music) on Haydn’s Sonata in E, Hob. XVI:31. The result was not really serialist (though based on ideas from the Haydn treated as pitch classes) and not at all aleatory. Rather, it seemed to me a hard-edged neoclassicism. I’m sure I heard hints of Hindemith. It was all very delicate though loud in places, angular and squiggly, and with surprising flashes of intense beauty – such as the final two chords of the second movement or the gamelan-like melody in the finale.

Clement Reid: Northern Lights, and Three Stories
Another blogger (and audience member) said this reminded him of the music of Greg Short, and I would agree on this point. Late Romanticist tone-poems in inspiration, yet scaled down to solo piano, with sudden dissonances, interesting coloristic effects, and ecstatic climaxes; each piece was a broad epic that took place in just a few minutes.

Jay Hamilton: #5 for Left Hand, and Did Everybody Get a Balloon?
The left-hand piece was intended as a rebuttal to the “cheating” left-hand piano repertoire that tries to make it sound as though both hands are playing. Here most of the writing was simple (though not simplistic or easy), and in the bass register – exactly as one would expect for a left-hand solo. Yet there was nothing “missing” in this quiet piano introspection.

Then Mr. Hamilton gave instructions on how to play the balloons that he’d handed out at the beginning of the concert, and let everybody improvise. With that, he broke down any stuffy pretense we had about having gathered to listen to recent “classical” compositions.

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