Sunday, March 26, 2017
Rebel at SoundBox
Karl Amadeus Hartmann (1905-1963) who refused to have his compositions performed in Germany during Hitler's regime, spending most of World War Two studying with Webern in Vienna. As one of the few established German artists who didn't go into exile yet remained untainted by the Nazis, Hartmann returned to Munich and was an important musical figure there until his death, writing eight symphonies and introducing music of the 20th century which had been banned since 1933 along with helping to establish contemporary composers like Henze, Xenakis, and Berio. His music has fallen out of favor in Germany and globally, but musical fashions ebb and flow, and from his introduction and conducting, it was obvious young Christian Reff is a devoted advocate. He conducted a string orchestra in the Allegro di molto movement from the Concerto funebre with violinist Dan Carlson above as the impassioned soloist in an exciting, vital performance. The music was so good it made me want to listen to the rest of Hartmann's work.
wrote the piece for four pianos in a variation on Reich/Glass minimalism where, as Alex Ross noted, "Eastman keeps piliing on elements, so that an initially consonant texture turns discordant and competing rhythmic patterns build to a blur." Local musical polymath Peter Grunberg composed the beautiful transcription, and the accompanying video of a dancer slowly embracing himself was perfection.
click here for a YouTube video).
The very satisfying concert ended with an excerpt from Jessie Montgomery's 2014 Banner, a multi-culti tribute to The Star Spangled Banner on its 200th birthday. Conductor Reff and his chamber orchestra tore into it with verve, and it was interesting enough I wish they had played the whole piece.