Friday, March 11, 2011

The weekend ahead: Reich, Bach, 2 Prokofievs

We'll hum along to the Bach.
By Barry Johnson

Arts Dispatch has stayed stubbornly unprogrammed since it breathed its first, last summer. Or maybe I've just been giving in to my erratic streak, but we won't start digging in that particular terrain, honest. That's about to change a little. Think of it as an experiment in structure.

It's pretty simple, really. This weekend (and I hope most subsequent weekends), I'm going to attend some arts events (this weekend they all happen to be music concerts) and then sit down on Sunday night and Monday morning and respond to them. They won't be reviews, exactly, especially when I know that another arts writer is on the job, but I will attempt to respond productively to what I see. Because I'll be going to more than one event, these responses will be shorter than those I've been producing here lately. Hey, I can hear that sigh of relief!

Basically, all I want to see is how a little regularity works -- in the context of the blog and for its readers, first, and then for potential readers who don't wander this way ordinarily. That's vague, but please bear with me!

I'm going to try to let you know in advance what I'm going  to be writing about (and if you have suggestions for next weekend, let me know).  So, this weekend it will be Third Angle Ensemble's "Reich-analia," Portland Baroque Orchestra (and friends) take on J.S. Bach's St. John Passion, and Fear No Music's intersection with the music of the Prokofievs (grandfather Sergei and grandson Gabriel, who combines classical, dance, electronica and hip-hop musics).

A little bit more on each show, including video clips, after the jump...

Reich-analia: Third Angle is celebrating its 25th year, which seems incredible. Really? Twenty-five years? Mercy. Anyway, Steve Reich has been a mainstay of the ensemble during this time, so it's fitting that three of Reich's great compositions will be on this program -- Violin Phase (1967), New York Counterpoint (1985) and Drumming (1971). For me, Reich has always been the most resourceful of the composers we gather around the term "minimalist' and also the most affecting.  The concert starts at 8 p.m. Friday in the Atrium of the Montgomery Center.

St. John Passion: Speaking of affecting, Portland Baroque Orchestra has enlisted tenor Charles Daniels, soloists from Montreal's Les Voix Baroques and members of Cappella Romana for the vocal work on Bach's Passiontide account. They will be recreating the earliest known version of the music, which PBO music director Monica Hugget said is "some of his (Bach's) most passionate, most emotional music," in her interview with The Oregonian's James McQuillen. That sounds fair enough to me. The first two performances, Friday and Saturday, are sold out, but as I type this, some tickets remain for Sunday's concert -- 3 p.m., Kaul Auditorium, Reed College.

Fear No Music's Prokofievs: I'm not always going to do all classical (or alt.classical) music weekends. In fact, this may be the ONLY time I do, but this concert should be hybrid enough for a change of pace. Fear No Music will perform compositions by and with Gabriel Prokofiev, the grandson of composer Sergei Prokofiev, whose work they will also perform. Gabriel is pretty hybrid all by himself, but one of the pieces on the program is a duet for violin and dancer -- in this case Gavin Larsen, who also supplies the choreography. So, music and dance. The concert starts at 8 p.m. Sunday at the Aladdin Theatre. Gabriel Prokofiev will conduct a master class for Fear No Music's young composers project from 1-3 p.m. Saturday at Lewis & Clark College's Evans Music Center. It's free and open to the public.

Somehow, sandwiching the Bach between two modern concerts made perfect sense to me when I made the arrangements. Now I'm wondering if I'll spend the weekend in a state of disorientation, if not outright confusion, in which case I'll be writing some odd stuff come Monday morning.


Northwest Dance Project said...

...need to get some dance in that schedule!

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