UW Composition recital

Last night’s composition area recital featured 5 pieces that covered a broad spectrum of styles. Nate Bartlett‘s star_birth for solo percussion opened the concert with its exciting raw energy. The set up included a mix of timbres such as tam-tams, Chinese opera gongs, woodblocks, tuned toms, etc. Most of the piece for me has to do though not of the interaction of these timbres–which were often grouped into like instruments and organized as such–but the resonance that each phrase creates. There was always some sound lingering at the end of a phrase, and it was interesting to hear what created it, and what it would grow into.

Dave Redick performed his own song cycle, with text by Robert Frost. It was an eclectic integration of pop, jazz and contemporary art songs. In one movement, Dave employed sing/speak, or sprechstimme–a staple technique since the 20th century contemporary music genre–to good effect, and even reaching a beautiful high B (or C?) in falsetto.

Nick Rehberg’s wind quintet Memoization of Mutual Recusion received a clean performance. Toward the ending, the effect of a sustained chord with varying vibrato in each instrument left me an oddly tantalizing yet enjoyable sensation. Youn-jae Ok presented two pieces: Il dolce sussurro for solo trombone, and “Mirror” for two sopranos, percussion and piano. Both were accompanied by slideshows of Youn-jae’s portrait photography. Il dolce sussuro was a demanding piece that showcased the wide range and the versatility of the trombone, demonstrating its multitude of tone color. Trombonist Dylan Chmura-Moore executed the piece smoothly. In Mirror, the soprano, whose part was mostly in sprechstimme, and the mezzosoprano, whose part was more traditionally sung, seemed to be engaged in a constant battle. Taking in the title of the piece and the poem, it was interesting to see who should be conceived as the real image, and who the reflection. In the end, words were broken down into syllables; and the two vocal parts came together, finishing each other’s words in turn.

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