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A Musical Feast featured in Artvoice

Friday, March 16, 2012

A Musical Feast and the Buffalo Chamber Players by Jan Jezioro

in this week's Artvoice.

This week, two of Western New York’s top chamber ensembles show why their concerts remain memorable, long after the music has stopped playing. On Sunday, March 18 at 2pm, A Musical Feast takes the stage in the Tower Auditorium of the Burchfield Penny Art Center, while on Wednesday, March 21 at 7pm, the Buffalo Chamber Players offer a program in their home at the Buffalo Seminary.

The Robert and Carol Morris Center for 21st Century Music at UB is once again a co-sponsor, and appropriately a pair of new works will be premiered. Percussionist John Bacon performs his …wind, water, metal, skin…, along with flute player Barry Crawford. “The piece started from the idea of wind chime melodies and the way that the notes combine into different orderings and repetitions,” Bacon says. “Along with that is the idea of each of the materials in the title and how to express some of their properties through music.”

For Descriptions of the Moon, UB-based composer Nathan Heidelberger set moon-themed texts by an impressive range of authors, including Dante, Galileo, Joyce, Neruda, cummings, Lawrence, and Rilke, focusing on moonlight. The composer notes: “While one hopes that most song cycles represent an equal partnership between a singer and a pianist, the singer, as the possessor of the text and thus the sole communicator of semantic meaning, often seems to take on a dominant role. In Descriptions of the Moon I tried to level the playing field as much as possible. In some songs the vocal line propels the music forward, while in others the piano part does. Sometimes the two performers seem to be on different planes entirely, with little overt connection or synchronization between them.”

Pianist Eric Huebner will join special guest, noted mezzo-soprano Julia Bentley, in the Heidelberger work. Bentley will also be the soloist in Bernard Rand’s brief Memo 7, composed for solo female voice.

UB faculty member Eric Huebner, recently appointed principal staff pianist of the New York Philharmonic, just finished a highly successful three-week European tour with that flagship American orchestra. Besides accompanying Bentley in the Heidelberger piece, Huebner will perform Mozart’s Fantasy in D Minor, K. 397, a deceptively simple work, often performed by young pianists, but one that requires a developed personal sensibility to be fully effective. Elliott Carter turned 103 last December and he is still composing. Huebner concludes the concert with his interpretation of Carter’s 1980 tour de force, Night Fantasies, described by the composer as “a piano piece of continuously changing moods, suggesting the fleeting thoughts and feelings that pass through the mind during a period of wakefulness at night.”

For more information, call 878-6011 or visit

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