[ilds] quoting from Lawrence Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet"

slighcl slighcl at wfu.edu
Thu Jan 17 06:05:03 PST 2008




*Taking flight
New flute and piano piece is a soaring success at Camerata concert*

By Rita Moran
Thursday, January 17, 2008

"Heft" was the name given by composer Ian Wilson to his new work for 
flute and piano that was premiered Sunday by Camerata Pacifica at 
Ventura's Temple Beth Torah. It was left to flutist and Camerata founder 
Adrian Spence and pianist Warren Jones to do the heavy lifting in a 
demanding piece commissioned for the ensemble by Jordan and Sandra Laby.

Spence and Wilson, who share Northern Ireland roots, joined together for 
preconcert comments in which the daunting quality of the work shared the 
stage with the nervous energy of Irish humor. Jones and Spence had 
joined forces on Tuesday for a long rehearsal session after working 
separately on their roles, then had given an initial performance of the 
new work for a small gathering with the Labys on Wednesday. On Friday, 
they played it twice in Santa Barbara, but Spence said the progression 
of his comfort with the work was such that he considered Sunday's 
performance the actual premiere.

*As for Wilson, he detailed his inspiration for the piece, quoting from 
Lawrence Durrell's "Alexandria Quartet" the words of an old Arabic 
conqueror of Alexandria: "I dreamt that heaven lay close upon the earth, 
and I between them both, breathing through the eye of a needle." In 
response to Spence's interest in substance, he has employed extended 
passages in which the flute, soprano and alto, plays two distinct notes 
through one placement, creating a soft flutter effect. *His thematic 
ideas, he said, were dropped "like bread crumbs along the way."

Perhaps because the sound of a flute is so closely related to the call 
or coo of a bird, without Wilson's explanation of the thoughtful 
underpinning of the piece, audiences may close their eyes and envision 
birds, tiny or imperious, gathering for communal moments on Earth and in 
flight. The two-note technique, which Spence approached with 
considerable concentration, does evoke a gentle, ethereal mood, 
different but just as intriguing on either the soaring soprano or mellow 
alto flute. Exciting passages of flight and more somber ruminations were 
enhanced by the close coordination between flute and piano, with Jones a 
prescient collaborator.

American composer John Harbison's Piano Quintet (1981) opened the 
program, with violinists Catherine Leonard and Songa Lee, cellist Ani 
Aznavoorian and violist Richard O'Neill joining Jones. Written in honor 
of painter Georgia O'Keeffe, Harbison's work highlights the drama and 
simplicity of her art, with dynamic contrasts in the Overture and 
clear-cut thrusts in the following movements: the zesty pizzicato of the 
Capriccio, the haunting exploration of the Intermezzo and the forthright 
punch of the Purletta. The final Elegia resonates with tellingly solemn 
notes. Harbison's quintet, along with Mozart's brief Adagio in B Minor, 
something of an anomaly in style and key for the composer and played 
Sunday with depth and assurance by Jones, will be part of the program 
Camerata Pacifica takes on tour when it visits Ireland and England in 
late April and early May.

Sunday's program concluded with Mozart's sprightly Trio for Piano and 
Strings in G Major, with Jones, Leonard and Aznavoorian, three superb 
musicians, merrily making their way through another irresistible work by 

--- E-mail Rita Moran at ritamoran at earthlink.net.

Charles L. Sligh
Department of English
Wake Forest University
slighcl at wfu.edu

-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: http://lists.uvic.ca/pipermail/ilds/attachments/20080117/d6639908/attachment.html 

More information about the ILDS mailing list