Classical Music in a Multitude of Manifestations | Chicago News

The Enterprise of “The Magic Flute” (Credit Cory Weaver)

All through the past 7 days I attended a few radically unique performances that challenged the idea of classical new music in each and every of their extremely specific means.

1st, the Lyric Opera production of “The Magic Flute,” Mozart’s previous and entirely excellent opera is a tale of enjoy and loss of life, cruelty and perseverance. It includes a multiplicity of personalities and at Lyric it arrives all dressed up — and generally overcome — by a very advanced and elaborate use of 21st century state-of-the-artwork animation. The operate dates again from 1791, also the 12 months of Mozart’s demise at the age of 35.

Then, a Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert that includes exquisite classical works by Mendelssohn, Bruch and Mozart, with Robert Chen, the CSO’s masterful Concertmaster considering that 1999, as the soloist in Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Minor.”

And last but not least, “Homecoming,” the most current entry in the CSO’s MusicNOW sequence, this was a showcase of the work of four up to date composers who engage in quick and furiously with classical tunes varieties.

Mozart composed 22 operas all through the course of his tragically temporary but brilliant everyday living. The additional you hear to any and all of Mozart’s songs, irrespective of whether for the opera, symphony, or other varieties, the additional you notice that everything he wrote is an extension of the emotional ability of the human voice and its instrumental counterparts.

People who saw the film “Amadeus” may recall how the composer is found reworking the shrill rant of his spouse into the glorious, fiendishly complicated and angry coloratura aria for the Queen of the Night time.

The Queen in “The Magic Flute,” whose daughter, Pamina is the object of Prince Tamino’s like, is remaining held captive by her rival, the elusive Large Priest Sarastro, and his evil enforcer, Monastatos. At the same time, Tamino’s companion, the hapless Papageno, a chicken-catcher, is in look for of a wife of his individual.

This production of the opera, designed by the London-based multimedia theater company termed 1927, and 1st produced in 2012 at the Komische Oper Berlin, was initially directed by Suzanne Andrade and Barrie Kosky, with Tobias Ribitzki directing its revival. But it is incredibly much the invention of animation designer Paul Barritt. The fact that his do the job is a hugely ingenious, point out-of-the-artwork visual experiment, with parts of equally humor and horror — spiraling musical notation and birds, large black monsters, shapely women, a cooperative noose suspended from a tree, and considerably extra — is plain. So is the fact that the generation could effectively have been envisioned as a way to attract a more youthful viewers to the opera dwelling. The artful updating of Donizetti’s “The Elixir of Enjoy ‘‘ earlier this Fall confirmed this could be carried out in a significantly much more subtle way.

The relentless eye candy here also is immensely distracting, frequently frustrating the singers, perching them in precarious positions, and no question building their blocking something of a nightmare with their precision-tuned positioning on phase critical to the animation. In the procedure, considerably of Mozart’s songs will get “upstaged” as does the necessary emotional exchange among the real-life performers and their figures, even with the good Lyric Orchestra musicians and conductor Karen Jamensek.

The singers get a bit much less lost in the 2nd act, or maybe it is just a make any difference of ultimately receiving utilised to all the digital traffic. And in many conditions they even deal with to soar, with baritone Huw Montague Rendall as an effortlessly participating and comic Papageno the stunning soprano Ying Fang winningly susceptible nevertheless steely as Pamina, the princess held hostage tenor Pavel Petrov as prince Tamino, Pamina’s determined and honorable suitor Lila Dufy as the fierce and offended Queen of the Night, who stops the clearly show with her soaring coloratura the remarkable bass, Tareq Nazmi, as the effortlessly commanding Superior Priest who oversees a sequence of daily life-altering trials for the enthusiasts tenor Brenton Ryan as his actually demonic slave, Monostatos Mathilda Edge, Katherine DeYoung and Kathleen Felty as the chorus of A few Women Denis Velez as Papagena (whose name is a participate in on the German term for parrot), the answer to Papageno’s quest for a spouse and an great male chorus in Abe Lincoln-like stovepipe hats.

“The Magic Flute” — an opera that, when left unfettered, reinforces the notion that “music is the foods of love” — will be done Nov. 7, 11, 14, 17, 19 and 27. For tickets check out LyricOpera.org.

Guest conductor Marek Janowski acknowledges Robert Chen following a performance of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Credit Todd Rosenberg)Visitor conductor Marek Janowski acknowledges Robert Chen pursuing a functionality of Bruch’s Violin Concerto No. 1 with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. (Credit Todd Rosenberg)

Thursday evening’s CSO concert showcased a trio of gorgeous performs, with visitor conductor Marek Janowski, inventive director of the Dresden Philharmonic, functioning devoid of a rating. as he led the closing piece on the plan – Mozart’s exuberant “Symphony No. 41 in C Significant (‘Jupiter’),” which was performed with the orchestra’s typical brilliance.

The concert opened with Mendelssohn’s “The Hebrides Overture,” a perform I experienced hardly ever in advance of listened to in a reside effectiveness. An entirely ravishing piece, just 10 minutes prolonged, it carries you out to sea. It vividly captures a perception of the wild waves washing all-around the remote Scottish islands of its title with its feverish use of the strings, winds and brass, its melodic attractiveness, and its stormy but ever lyrical urgency. A transient but exquisite get the job done.

Upcoming was Bruch’s “Violin Concerto No. 1 in G Insignificant,” an perfect showcase for Robert Chen and his honey-toned Stradivarius. It announces alone with a quick and muted sound from the timpani, then the preliminary seem of the violin, and refined plucking from the basses and cellos. There is a attractive fluidity and warmth to Chen’s enjoying, and he and his fellow musicians very easily captured a sense of the composer’s interior landscape, with the seem of the French horns and other brass including a feeling of grandeur.

Chen was back in the concertmaster’s chair for the Mozart symphony, a work of good electricity that soars on the composer’s genius for capturing the two the particular person voices of the orchestra and their interplay. It also was a vivid reminder of how Mozart’s audio generally has a singing quality — the human voice expanded and glorified. A diverse variety of opera in a way, and in this situation, a effective reminder that his music is innately animated, and not in need to have of any further more animation or other enhancement.

Composer Ted Hearne joins conductor Michael Lewanski, musicians from the CSO and guests following a performance of Authority that concluded the first CSO MusicNOW program of the 2021-22 season.Composer Ted Hearne joins conductor Michael Lewanski, musicians from the CSO and company subsequent a efficiency of Authority that concluded the first CSO MusicNOW software of the 2021-22 season.

Finally, the CSO’s MusicNOW software, is curated by Jessie Montgomery who has experienced numerous of her rhythmically interesting performs, which include “Strum,” and “Coincident Dances,” done by the CSO in current months. For the future 3 seasons, Montgomery will provide as the CSO’s Mead Composer-in-Residence. This one particular-night time-only concert, performed by musicians of the CSO, made available examples of just how far what we term “classical music” can be pushed, pulled, fragmented, reimagined and even notated.

With “new music” there definitely is a need to listen to a work various situations just before thoroughly greedy it, in section since the composition can be so unfamiliar. But in this article are some 1st impressions, along with this be aware: Michael Lewanski, the conductor of the software, experienced to deal with a slew of new musical languages, no question a complicated test, but one he managed with extraordinary aplomb, as did the a variety of musicians associated.

The concert opened with Elijah Daniel Smith’s “Scions of an Atlas,” a work of nuts syncopations, dissonance and a slew of large-ranging experiments in audio involving the strings, winds and brass, with uncommon accents courtesy of percussion from Ian Ding and Mio Nakamura on piano. It culminated with a major crescendo and then a powerful silence.

Montgomery’s contributions arrived in the sort of two tracks carried out by the abundant-voiced soprano Whitney Morrison who needed larger clarity in her diction. The lyrics for the to start with track, “Loisaida, My Love” — whose title is a enjoy on the Reduce East Side neighborhood in Manhattan wherever Montgomery grew up — are the operate of Bimbo Rivas, a Puerto Rican-born poet who also was a force in acquiring inexpensive housing assignments in that rundown region in the 1970s and ‘80s.

The 2nd piece, “Lunar Tune,” with lyrics by J. Mae Barizo, was composed as an ASCAP commission to rejoice the Leonard Bernstein centennial in 2019. I want Montgomery experienced tapped a lot more deeply into Bernstein’s musical eclecticism in the piece.

Up following was Nathalie Joachim’s intriguing “Seen,” a quintet for woodwinds fantastically performed by musicians Emma Gerstein on flute, Anne Bach on oboe, John Bruce Yeh on clarinet, Keith Buncke on bassoon and David Griffin on horn. The five quick sections of the piece were influenced by artist Whitfield Lovell’s portraits of 5 unidentified African Individuals and the everyday objects they may well, or could possibly not, have felt related to. And when I question I would have guessed that was the fundamental scenario, the shifting moods — a little bit of energetic Copland-esque seem, then a more mellow tone, a little bit of syncopation and much more — variously introduced to mind a kite in the wind, a damaged doll, and a spinning pinwheel. It’s a work I require to listen to all over again.

The very last and most intricate function on the method was Ted Hearne’s “Authority,” no doubt a hair-elevating obstacle for both equally its 12 musicians and Lewanski. Lewanski plainly had to invent a new sign language of sorts to signal them. Scored for winds, harp, piano, electrical guitar, keyboard and strings, the “Authority” is a complexly layered, cacophonous function of immense rhythmic chaos and agitation, with overlapping instrumental voices and frenzied rhythmic bursts. And I are not able to start out to picture how the rating was notated. Hearne claimed “Authority” was an abstract attempt to counsel how we manage viewpoints that are not our own.”

All the composers were in attendance at the concert and built short, charming own statements about their work.

Follow Hedy Weiss on Twitter: @HedyWeissCritic


Kenneth Proto

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