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Two concerts offer a welcome goodbye to a harsh month

Farewell to February

If you live in Western New York and if you have not been lucky enough to have been suspended in a state of hibernation, it can pretty much be guaranteed that this winter, you will be only too happy to welcome the end of February. Siberian-like weather conditions be damned, however, this month has been a wonderful one for those classical music lovers not afraid to venture out into the local frozen tundra. Two upcoming musical events at UB will help close out a month, as memorable for music and for weather.

American Composers to the Fore

On Thursday, February 26 at 7:30pm, Slee Hall on the Amherst Campus will host a chamber music recital by UB faculty members including John Bacon, percussion, Amrom Chodos, bass clarinet, Jonathan Golove, cello, Eric Huebner, piano, Tom Kolor, percussion and Daniel Pendley, double bass, in a program featuring works by American composers.

Golove and Huebner will perform Elliott Carter’s Sonata for cello and piano. Carter, who continued to compose until his death at the age of 103 in 2012, wrote the piece in 1948, and Golove describes it as “a masterpiece that marks the end of the composer’s early period and the beginning of his exploration of metrical modulations and the possibilities for multiple simultaneous tempi.”

Evan Ziporyn composed What She Saw There for cello and marimba four-hands while living in Indonesia in 1984. “I was at that time listening to a lot of epic songs”, writes Ziporyn, “in languages I didn’t understand, such as Mandarin, Swahili, and Balinese. This piece attempts to evoke a feeling of abstracted narrative, to tell a tale about an unspecified, incomprehensible place, in an equally slippery language”.

Ralph Shapey’s Gottlieb Duo was composed in 1984 for the percussionist/pianist duo of brothers Gordon and Jay Gottlieb. Curtain Raiser, a 1995 work composed for cello, percussion, piano, and tape, by professor of composition and department chair Jeffrey Stadelman makes use of a text by Gertrude Stein.

Buffalo-based composer Caroline Mallonée wrote Throwing Mountains, a piece for bass clarinet, cello, double bass, and piano, in 2003. “Throwing pots is the terminology for the process of creating a ceramic piece using natural forces and natural materials” writes Mallonée. “The momentum of the wheel allows the potter to create symmetrical objects out of earth and water. Throwing pots is also a fun and loud way to dispose of thrown pots. In Throwing Mountains, ranges and peaks arise from the momentum of the music. Throwing mountains in the end might also be said to be a fun and loud way to dispose of thrown mountains.”

The Beauty of Bach

On Saturday, February 28, UB professor of violin Yuki Nuamta Resnick will be joined by her colleagues Golove and Huebner, as well as her husband Kyle Resnick, a Buffalo State College faculty member, and New York City-based violist Caleb Burhans in Baird Recital Hall at 7:30pm for a program that derives its inspiration from the music of Johann Sebastian Bach. “The thought behind this program is to explore the influence Bach has had on more contemporary repertoire,” says Yuki. “Although I have been working with this theme for the last six years in recital and chamber music programming, this has become a rather popular thread in recent years with artists such as Jenny Koh constructing similar programs—it just goes to show how much influence Bach has had on all musicians, from creators of music to interpreters of music”.

“Bach’s Violin Partita No.1 in B minor is a series of four dance movements (Allemande, Courante, Sarabande and Bourée) with accompanying Doubles that follow the identical harmonic progression as its original movements. Ryan Francis’ piano piece Sillage is based entirely on the Double of the Allemande from this Partita so I will insert this piece directly after the Double in performance. Kyle will be joining me on trumpet as a special guest on the Double of the Sarabande. As a side note, I have commissioned four short pieces, each one drawing influence from one of the Partita movements, much like Bach has already done with the Doubles. I will be recording the Partita with these four inserted movements in August for a future CD release.”

“Though it is a lesser-known fact, I am not only the violin professor at UB but also the viola professor and as such, I am happily incorporating the viola much more into my playing life. My good friend and longtime collaborator, Caleb Burhans will be joining me on George Benjamin’s Viola Viola, a piece which is much like Bach in that it is based on a single line which is tossed back and forth between two single-melody instruments. The program concludes with Bach’s much-loved Brandenburg Concerto No. 6 which is an opportunity for me to collaborate with my UB colleagues Eric Huebner and Jonathan Golove as well as indulge my hidden love for the C string of the viola!”

Tickets: $15/10; free for UB students.


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