Miranda Cuckson & Christopher Burns; Dena Goodman, Alana Grossman, and Jennie Moser; Lauren Biglow; David Kalhous | Lutkin Hall, Northwestern University | Experimental | Chicago Reader
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Miranda Cuckson & Christopher Burns; Dena Goodman, Alana Grossman, and Jennie Moser; Lauren Biglow; David Kalhous 

When: Wed., March 5, 7:30 p.m. 2014
Price: $6, $4 for students
In 1988 daring Italian composer Luigi Nono finished one of his final works, La Lontananza Nostalgica Utopica Futura, written for virtuosic violinist Gidon Kremer. It remains a masterpiece of spatialized sound, directing the performer to move among six sections of music whose scores rest on six different stands. Much of its excitement comes from eight tracks of prerecorded improvisations and ambient sounds—including some material (chairs scraping on the floor, laughter, conversation, dropped objects) that reminds me of Karren, a meticulous 2013 album by Chicago composer Olivia Block. Last year New York-based violinist Miranda Cuckson released a recording of La Lontananza (in an Urlicht Audiovisual set featuring both stereo and 5.1 sound) where Milwaukee composer and sound artist Christopher Burns controls those eight channels of sound in real time, emphasizing certain tracks while suppressing others. In combination with Cuckson’s live parts—which also include wordless vocalizations, an element of the score that many previous performers have ignored—they give the piece a stunning dynamic range, from barely audible to explosively dissonant. Cuckson tends toward astringent double stops and viscous long tones, which blend with the prerecorded sounds in ever-changing combinations. This is Cuckson and Burns’s Chicago debut of the piece—and there are few events on the 2014 concert calendar I’ve been as excited about. The program also includes other Nono works, including ¿Donde Estas Hermano?, performed by Northwestern students accompanied by pianist David Kalhous. On Sun 3/2 at 3 PM, Cuckson and pianist Ning Yu perform a concert of contemporary pieces by Gubaidulina, Haas, Xenakis, and others at the University of Chicago’s Logan Center for the Arts, 915 E. 60th. —Peter Margasak Dena Goodman, Alana Grossman, and Jennie Moser; Lauren Biglow; and David Kalhous open.

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