Wilhelm Bruck & Theodor Ross | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Wilhelm Bruck & Theodor Ross 

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WILHELM BRUCK & THEODOR ROSS

There isn't exactly what you'd call a robust repertoire for guitar in contemporary classical music, and what literature does exist tends to be dry and academic, in the worst sense. In part that's why German composer Helmut Lachenmann's extraordinary 1977 guitar duet, Salut für Caudwell, was such a welcome addition to the canon. It features dazzlingly intense hockets--cascades of arpeggiated notes that ricochet between the players with split-second precision--and an almost bouncy staccato section with interdigitated guitar and vocal parts; Lachenmann also attended meticulously to various extended plectrum techniques and modes of scraping and glissing. The composer's care is immediately evident on the sole recorded version of the piece--part of a lavishly illustrated, hand-numbered, autographed edition released by the Col Legno label in 1988--thanks to Wilhelm Bruck and Theodor Ross, the Cologne-based duo for whom it was written. They handle the impossibly difficult score with startling ease, and it absolutely leaps from the page. Though Bruck and Ross have been together since 1969, this is their Chicago debut; they'll play Caudwell as well as two other rare items from the European avant-garde songbook: Italian outsider Giacinto Scelsi's Ko-Tha: Three Dances of Shiva (1967) and Mauricio Kagel's Acustica (1970), composed for live electronics and acoustic sound sources. Friday, 8 PM, Renaissance Society, Cobb Hall, room 418, 5811 S. Ellis; 773-702-8670. JOHN CORBETT

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

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