Culturemap: "No boring chamber music: Da Camera's new season gets daring, hailing inventors and explorers"
Culturemap's Joel Luks previews the 2014/2015 season for Culturemap:
"The inner workings of Sarah Rothenberg's gray matter have been busy bees once again curating yet another season of concerts that extend beyond traditional performances. The Da Camera of Houston artistic director's signature style, in which she combines this piece with that composer with this instrument with that genre-defying artist to awaken a sense of listeners' imaginative and scholarly understanding of creativity, is something to examine under a microscope.
You could say that Rothenberg herself is the theme of Da Camera's 2014-15 season. Titled Inventors and Explorers, the collection of classical music, jazz and multimedia performances draws attention to luminaries of science and art who were catalysts for change — on purpose or by chance.
'Diverse musical genres that span five centuries will vividly make connections between music and other aspects of culture,' she says. 'Special highlights include an international quartet series exploring the invention and development of the string quartet.' "
Artistic and General Director Sarah Rothenberg has announced Da Camera's 2014/2015 season, Inventors and Explorers. Click here for details about the season. Come back soon to subscribe online.
Steven Brown previews Saturday's Scenes of Childhood: "Reading Hans Christian Andersen's "The Little Match Girl," the story of a girl trudging barefoot through snowy streets, composer David Lang saw a parable equating the child's suffering with that of Jesus. He thought how the Crucifixion has been recounted in works such as J.S. Bach's St. Matthew Passion, which alternate between narrating the story and meditating on it.
Lang took Bach's format as the model for his Pulitzer Prize-winning choral piece, "The Little Match Girl Passion." The Houston Chamber Choir performs it Saturday as part of a Da Camera program, "Scenes of Childhood."
Andersen's story gets its power from mixing horror and beauty, Lang writes in his program note for the work. Despite the girl's agonies in the cold as she tries fruitlessly to earn money by selling matches, her mind brings back sweet memories. Her experiences echo Christ's.
"The girl suffers, is scorned by the crowd, dies, and is transfigured," Lang writes."
"Sasha Cooke's Recital Balances Intimacy and Grandeur...few tributes to [Britten have been] lovelier than that delivered by the mezzo-soprano Sasha Cooke...In his five-song cycle A Charm of Lullabies, Britten brought together themes that occupied him throughout his career in a style both sweet and threatening...Ms. Cooke captured both the gentle and surreal aspects of these pieces, lavishing on them a voice softly, warmly radiant, with a penetrating core of metal. In The Highland Balou, she movingly balanced grandeur and intimacy. She rose to a vast note in the final line of Sephestia’s Lullaby and reduced her sound to a sliver for the whispers of “quiet!” in A Charm.” -- The New York Times
Shelby Hodge of Culturemap reports on the recent kickoff party for Da Camera's gala hosted by Elaine and Marvy Finger, which took place at The Finger Companies new luxury apartment complex 2900 West Dallas. The gala is April 5 and salutes Sarah Rothenberg for her 20 years as Artistic Director.
The Houston Chronicle's Colin Eatock talks to pianist/composer Vijay Iyer about his new piece Time, Place, Action, composed for himself and the Brentano String Quartet. Click here for the full article.
The concert on Saturday February 15 with the Brentano String Quartet with Vijay Iyer, piano and guest composer, features the world premiere of Iyer's Time, Place, Action for Piano Quintet. Iyer is no stranger to music for strings, having studied classical violin for 15 years when he was younger. “This piece puts the spirit of real-time invention in dialogue with the meticulous interpretative art of the string quartet,” says Vijay Iyer. “What the two approaches have in common is a focus on the experience of sound in time; the priority in both cases is not only the articulation of form, but also a heightened attention to moment-to-moment interaction and the flow of aural sensation.” Concertgoers can hear more of Iyer's thoughts about the piece in a pre-concert conversation on Saturday night.
Read the Houston Chronicle's coverage of the critical acclaimed for Sarah Rothenberg's performance in Signature Theater's production of Cheri. Full article here. Photo: Joan Marcus