Saturday, September 05, 2015

Celebrating Stefano Scodanibbio

Last Sunday I attended an afternoon concert at Old First Church featuring musicians of sfSound & the music of Stefano Scodanibbio. 4 trumpeters opened the program with a solemn, portenous piece lasting about 13 minutes. An elderly man sitting in front of me covered one of this ears through much of it, & some of the chords created a physical sensation inside my ear canal. Violinist Ben Kreith gave a bright, jazzy performance of the solo piece My New Address, which was relentless in its use of squeakingly high harmonics & double stops. Mr. Kreith gave the music a clear sense of line & punctuated the ending playfully. 9 musicians then participated in a group improvisation in 3 movements, using material supplied by Scodanibbio. It was often cacaphonous, though duets clearly emerged, between violin & cello, for instance, or double bass & vibraphone. The last movement was fast & busy & climaxed in a high, piercing flourish from the clarinet.

After the intermission, Luciano Chessa performed a 10 minute improvisation on an amplified Đàn Bầu, making electronic wails & metallic plucking & scratching sounds. At one point it got loud enough that people covered their ears, though the ending was tentative & quiet. Matt Ingalls on bass clarinet & Lisa Mezzacappa on contrabass then did a compact 5 minute improvisation that grew to a loud climax then wound gently down to silence. Mr. Ingalls's astonishing extended techniques included circular breathing, stratospheric high notes & rattling the clarinet's keys.

The concert ended with Scodanibbio's Monteverdi-inspired Mas lugares, performed by the Del Sol Quartet. The harmonies of Monteverdi's madrigals came through, though they were enveloped in harmonics, scraping noises & glassy timbres. The 20-minute piece felt stretched-out & ghostly. The Del Sol Quartet made the different sections clear & played with a sustained sound. The audience of about 50 was supportive & always recalled the performers back for a 2nd bow. Afterwards I chatted with the Del Sol Quartet's violinists & learned that Mr. Kreith had just returned from playing string quartets on a river rafting trip through the Grand Canyon.

§ Celebrating Stefano Scodanibbio
sfSound & special guests

Stefano Scodanibbio
Plaza (2002)
          Tom Dambly, Scott Macomber, Doug Morton,
          Lenny Ott, trumpets; John Ingle, conductor

Stefano Scodanibbio
My New Address (1986/1988)
          Benjamin Krieth, violin

Stefano Scodanibbio
Avvicinamenti (2007)
          Monica Scott, cello; Lisa Mezzacappa, bass
          Brendan Lai-Tong, trombone; Benjamin Kreith, violin
          John Ingle, saxophone; Matt Ingalls, clarinets
          Mark Clifford, vibraphone; Luciano Chessa, piano
          Kyle Bruckmann, oboe/English horn (sfSoundGroup)

Luciano Chessa
COHIBA (2015)
          Luciano Chessa, dan bau

Matt Ingalls/Lisa Mezzacappa
Omaggio (2015)
          Matt Ingalls, bass clarinet; Lisa Mezzacappa, contrabass

Stefano Scodanibbio
Mas lugares (on Monteverdi's Madrigali) (2003)
          Del Sol String Quartet: Benjamin Kreith, violin;
          Rick Shinozaki, violin; Charlton Lee, viola; Kathryn Bates, cello

Old First Concerts
Sunday, August 30, 2015 at 4pm
Old First Church

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