For Your Ears: Amerimaverickathon
This week will showcase a whole lot of American composers, featuring some monumental works that are not to be missed. Sorry Russian Masters, you’ll just have to wait this time.
Tonight, 8pm at Orchestra Hall: The San Francisco Symphony makes a stop in Chicago on their American Mavericks tour. The program features Henry Cowell’s rarely heard Synchrony, John Adams’ brand new Absolute Jest for string quartet and orchestra, and the massive planet of a piece, Charles Ives’ Concord Symphony (the composer’s infamous piano sonata as orchestrated by Henry Brant). Every time I see the title for the Adams piece, I keep assuming it says Infinite Jest. Turns out the composer’s inspiration was Beethoven, not David Foster Wallace:
Which is kind of programmatically perfect, considering Ives quotes Beethoven’s Fifth Symphony throughout his work. In his essay on the first movement, “Emerson”, the composer writes:
“There is an ‘oracle’ at the beginning of the Fifth Symphony—in those four notes lies one of Beethoven’s greatest messages. We would place its translation above the relentlessness of fate knocking at the door, above the greater human-message of destiny, and strive to bring it towards the spiritual message of Emerson’s revelations—even to the “common heart” of Concord—the Soul of humanity knocking at the door of the Divine mysteries, radiant in the faith that it will be opened—and the human become the Divine!”
March 22 and 24, 7:30pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art: eighth blackbird presents The Music of Less/More, two nights of concerts approaching composition in two very different ways in response to the MCA’s current exhibit, the language of less (then and now). The programs will feature works by American hotshots such as Philip Glass, David Lang, and Alvin Lucier, as well as some newer American voices like Andy Akiho and Amy Kirsten. Don’t worry, they threw some Ligeti in there to break up all this patriotic fervor. Tickets at the MCA website.
And if that wasn’t enough…
March 24, 10pm at the Museum of Contemporary Art: Immediately after their concert, eighth blackbird joins (seriously) almost every single new music ensemble in Chicago for a performance of Terry Riley’s epic masterpiece, In C. If only it wasn’t a New Music Chicago exclusive; I was hoping they’d welcome participation from amateur musicians in a true Scratch Orchestra fashion. Tickets also at the MCA website.