MusicNow | Harris Theater | Classical | Chicago Reader
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MusicNOW

Todd Rosenberg

When: Mon., June 6, 7 p.m. 2016
Price: $26
The final MusicNow concert of the first season curated by Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s recent Mead Composers-in-Residence Sam Adams and Elizabeth Ogonek closes on a high note with the overdue Chicago premiere of Surface Image, an hour-long odyssey composed by Tristan Perich and featured on a fantastic 2014 recording from New Amsterdam Records. As on that release, the work is performed here by the remarkable Canadian pianist Vicky Chow, a member of Bang on a Can All-Stars, who brings a necessary precision and crispness to the score. That technical rigor is required because she plays against a 40-channel array of one-bit electronics programmed in hypnotic cumulative waves that inject a dazzling sense of motion. Dizzying counterpoint and superfast polyrhythmic effects add a serious jolt, and the mix of acoustic and electronic sounds allows the listener to get lost in the music’s hypnotic melodic exposition and ever-morphing richness of color. The program also includes excerpts from the U.S. premiere of Fjoloy, a choral work of haunting beauty composed by Qasim Naqvi, known best as the drummer in Dawn of Midi. Designed for singers of all skill levels, the piece relies on its conductor—in this case Donald Nally—to control the action with a series of hand gestures, as the vocalists don’t have a score but listen to a fixed synthesizer pitch on headphones, resulting in a more natural, almost ritualistic performance. Also featured is the premiere of a new commission from Adams titled Light Readings.
— Peter Margasak

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