David Bowlin | Museum of Contemporary Photography, Columbia College | Classical | Chicago Reader
This is a past event.
When: Fri., Oct. 9, 7:30 p.m. 2009
Price: $10
Italian composer Luigi Nono is best known for serialist orchestral compositions with explicitly leftist messages, but late in his life—he died in 1990—he often worked instead with a bare minimum of materials. Few pieces illustrate this development better than La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura (1989), a galvanizing hour-long piece for solo violin and eight-channel tape. To create the tape Nono spent several days with violinist Gidon Kremer, recording and in some cases electronically processing a library of sounds and phrases: two channels are dense harmonic material, two are untreated violin, mostly in single notes and fifths, two are studio noises like squeaking chairs and conversation, and two are fierce melodic passages filled with long, whistling high notes, rapid tremolos, and vigorous bow strikes. The piece encourages interaction between the “sound projector” controlling the tape and the violin soloist, who roams among six to ten music stands, six of which hold the six parts of the score. The soloist can pause to interpret between sections, controlling the piece’s flow, while the projector determines which of the channels will play and at what volume (though all eight are never to sound at once). Given the leeway granted to the musicians, the piece can vary widely—I’ve heard a couple very different versions—but in every case the live violin navigating both Nono’s austere, harrowing score and the ever-changing taped sounds is hair-raisingly tense and surprisingly elegant. Here the soloist is David Bowlin, a founding member of the Inter­national Contemporary Ensemble, and the projector is his ICE colleague Joshua Rubin. Bowlin will also perform Luciano Berio’s Sequenza VIII for solo violin (1976) and excerpts from Salvatore Sciarrino’s 6 Capricci (1976), which is dedicated to Nono. —Peter Margasak



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