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Sunday, March 24 , 2019, 7:39 pm | Fair 57º

 
 
 
 

Gerald Carpenter: Composers, Musicians Unite in Morgan’s ‘Congruency’

Violist (UCSB alumnus) Jonathan Morgan performs the second and third installments of his Congruency concert series at 7 p.m. Saturday, May 20, and Sunday, May 21, in the Santa Barbara Center for Art, Science and Technology, 513 Garden St.

Despite the division of the series into Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3, the entire Congruency program will be performed each time.

Many of us have heard of violists who took up their instrument because the violin section was already too crowded, or as a second source of income. It seems plausible, but I've never met one.

The violists I've known have been passionately and uniquely devoted to the viola as the main thing.

Morgan is the genotype of this attachment, and more. He is a violist of rare insight and awesome technique, and he is expanding the viola's available literature as a personal project.

Most of the works on the Congruency program were written for him, and he gave their premiere performances.

The danger here is flattery, of course, but these composers have not flattered Morgan, they have challenged him. He has taken their scores and given back music.

Team Morgan has provided the following descriptions of the composers and their works:

"Nick Norton 'Elegy II for Solo Viola' was written in 2014 shortly after the Isla Vista shootings. While obviously horrific, the way the community came together afterward was inspiring.

"It is a solemn piece, but it ends on a hopeful note. As there seems to be no end to violence theses days, that bit of hope is something we could all use.

"The recording of 'Elegy II,' released on the Aerocade Music label, is available in all digital audio formats worldwide via iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Bandcamp, Apple Music, and all major music retailers.

"Anthony Paul Garcia 'Wait for Solo Viola and electronics' was written for Jonathan Morgan in early 2011. The initial movement, entitled 'Avoid Dance,' actively avoids the pitch G, while the second movement, 'Bowing,' relishes in it to the extent that it is crushed under its weight.

"Federico Llach 'Begin for Solo Viola and Electronic Performer' was jointly commissioned by Jonathan Morgan and Annegret Mayer-Lindenberg in early 2017, and is inspired by the democratization of hip-hop and other compositional techniques.

"Llach has made sampling a core procedure of his compositional process. Begin deals with the extrapolation of the conventional concept of virtuosoism to the acoustic-performer-plus-electronics-performer set.

"Joshua Carro '[clouded] for Electro-Acoustic Viola and Live Video' was written for Jonathan Morgan in late 2016, and is one of 14 works in an electro-acoustic chamber works series called nexus.

This chain of works was started in 2013 and stems from three joined ideas.

"Joel Feigin 'Lament for Solo Viola' is part of a cycle of works consisting of 'Lament for Solo Viola, Ghosts for Six Violas and Lament with Ghosts,' in which the solo and ensemble pieces are played simultaneously, creating a concerto for viola accompanied by a consort of six violas.

"As the title implies, Lament is an expression of passionate, even operatic grief. Anguished writing featuring expressive quartertone trills and glissandi is set off by melodic sections of utmost simplicity.

"Christos Hatzis 'The Mega4 Meta4 for Solo Viola and Fixed Audio' is the fifth and final piece of 'Earthrise,' a pentalogy of electroacoustic works by the Greek-Canadian composer.

"In this work, religious symbolism and humour exist side-by-side in a mutually exclusive yet complementary partnership, creating a sense of "lightness" which permeates every aspect of the composition, notably in the choice of cheap treet' material for example, and the conscious effort to realize the unexplored and often overlooked potential hidden within it."

Tickets to each Congruency concert are $15. They can be purchased at the door (chancy, considering the size of the venue) or on line at http://congruency2.bpt.me or http://congruency3.bpt.me.

— Gerald Carpenter covers the arts as a Noozhawk contributing writer. He can be reached at [email protected]. The opinions expressed are his own.

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