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Contemporary Music Ensemble Featuring Reich's Double Sextet

The beginning of March is a time full of expectation and optimism: warmer, sunnier days are on the horizon, and new energy electrifies the air.   What better way to celebrate the coming of Spring (while looking back on Winter) than by listening to the music of our time, as expertly performed by the Contemporary Music Ensemble. Music Director Daniel Nesta Curtis, and conductors Hanjin Sa and Geoffrey Larsen, will guide the Ensemble through a program of iconic works of 20th-century repertoire.  

Featured on the March 2nd program is Steve Reich's Double Sextet. This composition, which won a 2009 Pulitzer Prize for Music, was written for two identical sextets comprised of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibes and piano.  The piece is normally performed by a sextet recording itself on one half of the score and then performing against that recording, but this concert will give a relatively rare performance by using 12 live musicians.


Also on the concert will be French composer (and occasional enfant terrible) Edgard Varèse who was both a musical iconoclast and a demanding perfectionist.  His octet Octandre, scored for a mixed ensemble of winds and brass, represents an exotic flower with eight stamens; the title reflects both the work's instrumentation and its subject. 

Rounding out the CME concert will be Estonian composer Arvo Pärt who has achieved widespread renown, not only for his haunting, otherworldly compositions, but for his peaceful opposition to the Soviet occupation of his home country.  The CME will perform one of Pärt's most famous works, called Fratres; the composer has said that this music is meant to evoke the tolling of distant bells.  This composition is based on a simple chordal progression, which in its slow, incantatory unfolding, evokes the vastness of space and time.

This concert will take place at 5:00 pm on Saturday, March 2nd in the Kresge Theatre at the College of Fine Arts. The concert is free and open to the public; we invite our audience to an illuminating pre-concert talk, given at 4:00 pm by Daniel Nesta Curtis.

Categories: This Week In Music