Thursday, May 24 , 2018, 10:02 pm | Overcast 58º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music Strikes ‘Poses’

Tuesday's program features works that call for the musicians to play roles as they perform

November’s final concert will be an offering by UCSB’s Ensemble for Contemporary Music at 8 p.m. Tuesday in Lotte Lehmann Concert Hall, in the Music Building.

The program, directed by ECM maven Jeremy Haladyna, is called “Poses, Postures, Postulates,” and features works that call for the players to pose and play roles as they perform. Exactly how this translates into a memorable musical experience is something you can only find out for yourself — by going to the concert.

The works to be performed include Olivier Messiaen’s Le Merle Noir/The Blackbird (Olivia Neel on flute); Voicelessness: The Snow Has No Voice by young contemporary Austrian composer Beat Furrer (Joann Cho on piano); Kevin Volans’ Keeling Dances for Two Pianos (Cho and Haladyna on pianos); the premiere of a new work in Haladyna’s Mayan Cycle, Xunaan Balam /Jaguar Queen (soprano Allison Bernal); Composition of As and Gs by German-born British composer Alexander Goehr (Joel Hunt on soprano saxophone); Tilework (Rachel Galvin on viola) by the self-admitted “minimalist” — in fact, coiner of the term — Tom Johnson; an excerpt from the neo-romantic Duo Concertante (Soah Narm on violin and Claire Barbasch on viola) by Paul Chihara; and selections from Embers (Neel on flute and Reyes Gonzalez Valle on guitar) by Daniel Asia.

It probably won’t be a long program, and though the large number of composers involved suggests complexity, this is tempered by the fact that there will be so much solo work and never more than two players at once. Try though I might to keep abreast of what is current in music, I admit to being familiar — and that rather glancingly — with only three of the seven composers on the schedule: Messiaen, Johnson and, of course, Haladyna. It is particularly disconcerting to me that I should have overlooked Goehr, since his life and career touch my interests at so many points.

Now 78, Goehr is the son of Schönberg disciple and noted conductor Walter Goehr, six of whose recordings, made circa 1950 for the likes of the Concert Hall Society and Musical Masterpiece Society, are among the true prizes of my vinyl collection (Ludwig van Beethoven’s The Ruin of Athens; Claudio Monteverdi’s Il combattimento di Tancredi e Clorinda; Sir Arthur Bliss’ Concerto for Piano and Orchestra, Samuel Barber’s Violin Concerto and the complete George Frideric Handel opera Giulio Cesare).

It’s entirely appropriate for Goehr to share the program with Messiaen, since hearing his father conduct Messiaen’s Turangalîla Symphony was one of the pivotal events in his formative years; later, he studied for a year with Messiaen, in Paris, where he also formed an enduring friendship with Pierre Boulez.

According to the sources I have consulted, Goehr’s compositional style has evolved through several distinct phases — always, however, pursuing his own line, even when practicing something so dogmatic as Austrian serialism. He doesn’t pretend to compose ex nihilo, and he considers himself the heir of all western polyphony, at least as far back as Monteverdi, to whom he is devoted.

In the preface to one of his scores, he wrote: “The impression I aim to create is one of transparency: The listener should perceive, both in the successive and simultaneous dimensions of the score, the old beneath the new and the new arising from the old. We are to see a mythological and ancient action, interpreted by a 17th-century poet in a modern theater.”

None of what Goehr and I have said above will give you the slightest notion of what Goehr’s music sounds like, and nothing I might say about the others would help much either. In music, there is no getting around sitting and listening to it yourself in a venue where you can’t be distracted or joke around with your friends — somewhere such as Lehmann Hall.

Tickets to the ECM concert are $15 for the general public and $7 for students. They can be purchased at the door.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributor. He can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Become a Supporter

Enter your email
Select your membership level
×

Payment Information

You are purchasing:

Payment Method

Pay by Credit Card:

Mastercard, Visa, American Express, Discover

Pay with Apple Pay or Google Pay:

Noozhawk partners with Stripe to provide secure invoicing and payments processing.

  • Ask
  • Vote
  • Investigate
  • Answer

Noozhawk Asks: What’s Your Question?

Welcome to Noozhawk Asks, a new feature in which you ask the questions, you help decide what Noozhawk investigates, and you work with us to find the answers.

Here’s how it works: You share your questions with us in the nearby box. In some cases, we may work with you to find the answers. In others, we may ask you to vote on your top choices to help us narrow the scope. And we’ll be regularly asking you for your feedback on a specific issue or topic.

We also expect to work together with the reader who asked the winning questions to find the answer together. Noozhawk’s objective is to come at questions from a place of curiosity and openness, and we believe a transparent collaboration is the key to achieve it.

The results of our investigation will be published here in this Noozhawk Asks section. Once or twice a month, we plan to do a review of what was asked and answered.

Thanks for asking!

Click Here to Get Started >

Reader Comments

Noozhawk is no longer accepting reader comments on our articles. Click here for the announcement. Readers are instead invited to submit letters to the editor by emailing them to [email protected]. Please provide your full name and community, as well as contact information for verification purposes only.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >