Face the Music | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Face the Music 

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The monthly edition of "Face the Music" at the HotHouse is like a smorgasbord: the servings are hefty and varied, and there's something for just about everyone. November's menu, prepared by Gene Coleman and divided into four sections, is filled with novelties and surprises. As appetizer, Coleman and instrument maker Hal Rammel will direct a group of like-minded and facile-fingered colleagues in assembling sounds created on a menagerie of ad hoc "instruments" like tables and frying pans. For dessert, local composer David Pavkovic has prepared a brand-new performance piece featuring eight instruments and two voices. In between are the two main courses: a medley of short works for the harpsichord, and three works for the Dilling harp, which combines the chromatic versatility of the pedal harp and the portability of the Celtic harp. Chicagoan Paul Cienniwa is the harpsichordist; his slate consists mostly of modern variations on tried-and-true musical forms, including Philip Glass's Modern Love Waltz, Gyorgy Ligeti's Possacaglia ungherese, Baroquen Blues by Chicago composer Todd Merrell, and the piquant Al Van 2 by the Vietnamese Ton-That Tiet. After harpsichord, harp: the first piece, Dilling Fantasy, scored by Bostonian Michael Leese for solo Dilling harp, is new-age sounding in its soothing peals. Then comes Leese's Untitled VII for harp, flute, bass clarinet, and contrabass, commissioned (and performed here) by Ensemble Noamnesia, the local experimentalmusic group led by Coleman; this piece is said to rely on chance procedure, multiphonics, and other extended techniques for its musical effect. Finally there's Coleman's latest composition, "White Rabbit (Mit Weizen Gerausch)," whose debt to Lewis Carroll may be obvious in the music's whimsy. Jocelyn Chang from Cleveland is the harpist. Sunday, 3 PM, HotHouse, 1565 N. Milwaukee; 235-2334 or 227-2215.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Yael Routtenberg.

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