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Third Coast Percussion 

When: Fri., Feb. 21, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $25, $5 for students
Already one of the most daring and curious new-music percussion ensembles in the country, Chicago’s Third Coast Percussion continued its ascent last year with the CD release of Resounding Earth (New Focus), a commission by composer Augusta Read Thomas. In the liner notes Thomas writes of her long fascination with bells, and she takes this work as an opportunity to explore them at length, addressing their ritual use across cultures as well their everyday ring and clang, whether from atop a church or around the neck of a cow (the piece involves lots of other metal percussion too, though some of it is bowed or rubbed rather than struck). Third Coast executes the four-part composition with its typical clarity and precision, moving elegantly and deliberately among several colors and textures: stately and cyclical gamelanlike structures with brisk, hypnotic rhythms; contrapuntal melodies whose independent motion creates a deep harmonic resonance; and hovering, sumptuous atmospheric drones. It’s never less than absorbing and otherworldly. This is the Chicago premiere of Resounding Earth, and the program also includes John Cage’s “Third Construction,” a Third Coast staple, and Parade, a contemporary piece by Chinese composer Guo Wenjing that complements the Asian sonorities of Thomas’s work. —Peter Margasak

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