in: Reviews

January 29, 2009

Dinosaur Annex Performs Adventurous New Works at Young Composers’ Festival

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The Community Music Center of Boston presented an evening of Boston premieres by young composers performed by the new music ensemble Dinosaur Annex.  The program presented an  of John Adams’s chamber music. The piece very successfully maintained momentum and energy through rhythm and repetition despite a fairly limited and harmonic language, while at the same time causing some moments of rhythmic drive to lose their potency.

Yvonne Lee gave an enrapturing performance of Trevor Gureckis’s Unsound Grounds for solo piano. The piece was full of character, constantly highlighting a contrast between short notes, long notes, and ornamentations pulsing with the influence of electronic music.  The additive formal scheme of the piece (A, AB, ABC, ABCD) shows commendable and conscious formal intent, but the multiple repetitions of the sections caused some of the exciting unpredictability of the rhythms to eventually become a bit tedious.  Nonetheless, the intensity of the performance highlighted Gureckis’s piece as a highlight of the evening.  John Orfe’s Sonata for flute and piano followed.  The piece features some inventive flute writing and extended techniques, but was disorienting, as the third movement had seemingly no relevance to the rest of the piece.

I Found it by the Sea, a piece for string trio and piano by Timothy Andres was full of beautiful sounds and truly creative variations on a theme, but was organized over an unnaturally segmented, stop-and-go type of formal structure – somehow reminiscent of the B-track on the MBTA green line.  Michele Zaccagnini’s Menage à Trois, was a brief piece that quite successfully combined three styles in a short period of time. The piece cleverly organized coloristic extended techniques into the piece’s counterpoint. The featured composer of the evening, Eva Kendrick, incorporated performers from the Community Music Center in Against the Grain. Kendrick shows a keen ability to write interesting music at an educational level, incorporating an appropriate level of difficulty in the parts for the students and the professionals in a very effective way. The students played with commendable accuracy and enthusiasm, providing a good end to a diverse and engaging program.

The Young Composers Festival at the Community Music Center of Boston will feature more concerts on Thursday and Friday in Allen Hall.

Peter Van Zandt Lane is a composer and bassoonist who performs regularly in the Boston area. He is currently pursuing a Ph.D in Music Composition and Theory at Brandeis University.

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