Eugene Weekly, 06/08/2006 [original]
Another source for new sounds in Eugene is the University of Oregon. Some of the school’s irrepressible, forward-looking music students have created the Eugene Contemporary Chamber Ensemble to play contemporary and 20th century music, including works by UO student composers. This last show of the season, 1:30 pm on June 10 in Beall Hall, features a major work by today’s leading living composer, John Adams.
“Gnarly Buttons” is an utterly delightful romp for clarinet, which was Adams’ instrument as a child and teenager, and chamber orchestra. It draws on his memories of his father (a swing clarinetist), shape note hymns, folk tunes (its hoe-down movement includes banjo, mandolin and guitar and samplers that play accordion and cow) and more.
The concert also includes the world premiere of Luke Carlson’s “Eternal Horizon” for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, percussion and piano. Music by the influential early 20th century composer Anton von Webern, Alfred Schnittke, one of Europe’s most important postwar composers, and a 1986 wind quintet by Montana-based composer David Maslanka round out the program. None of these pieces are easy to play though they’re all easy to listen to, and I applaud these intrepid UO students for bringing some of today’s most fascinating sounds to Eugene’s ears.
— Brett Campbell