Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Seattle Composers' Salon, 3/7/2014

"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."

This review is a couple of days late, but better late than never, as they say. There were four (five) composers who presented music (the reason for the ambiguous number will appear later).

Jeremiah Lawson

Jeremiah played two pieces, in C Major and C Minor, from a set of twenty-four preludes. These were beautiful, subtle guitar stylings, basically “classical” (or Baroque) but with ephemeral hints of jazz, flamenco, and Brazilian music.

Ann Cummings

With collaboators Jesse Stout and Ethan Subotta, Ann Cummings presented her “Three of a Kind” for banjo, string bass, and piano. Despite the instrumentation, there was no “bluegrass” in this music, but rather a minimalist/gamelan exploration of rhythmic ambiguities. These ambiguities were not necessarily audible to the listener (I heard mostly a steady pulsing drive), but the piece was a lot of fun nevertheless.

Clement Reid

In complete contrast to Anne’s piece, Clement presented this set of six short, amiable pieces for solo piano. Full of meandering tunes, hazy Impressionist harmonies, and occasional bits of random sound (usually from the piano strings), these were simple and unobtrusive on the surface but more deeply interesting the closer one listened. I was reminded of nothing so much as Mompou’s "Silent Music".

Nadya Kandrevis and Jeremy Shaskus

There’s that ambiguous number. This was a collaboration, the first part of a musical exploration of the supposed similarities between Hinduism and Judeo-Christianity. I don’t really buy the religious implications; historically at least, Judaism and Christianity are rejections of the world’s “traditional” animist/polytheistic religions (of which Hinduism is an offshoot, if a complex and highly categorized one). That said, there was much to recommend this music. The ‘cello began. Drones and open fifths led to more animated pizzicato passages; this introduced the piano (jazz chords led to an ornamented repeat of the ‘cello’s material). The ‘cello began again, this time introducing the soprano sax. I came to see the ‘cello as the creator, the instigator of all else that happened musically. None of it flowed or developed as conventional music does, yet there were beautiful sounds all around.

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