Guest conductor David Bloom leads Present Music’s friendly concert
Seventeen musicians and a guest conductor ushered out the Present Music season Friday evening at Turner Hall.
Conductor David Bloom, founding co-artistic director and conductor of the New York-based Contemporaneous new-music ensemble, led a program of pieces that he referred to as “his dream concert program.”
The concert was constructed of music written by Bloom’s friends, with the exception of the program opener, “Unravel.” The adaptive arrangement of Toru “TK” Kitajima’s “Unraveled” was written by local Reagan High School student Simon Kronschnabel for the PM Creation Project, and featured string quartet plus bass and percussion.
The evening’s program ranged from a splashy take on Andrew Norman’s mercurial “Try,” to a placid, drifting rendition of Matthew Evans’ glassy “Still Life No. 2.” The full-ensemble sounds of “Try” were liberally spiced with glissandos, flute whistle tones, fascinating effects and cacophonous moments, scratching string sounds, a fragmented piano cadenza and big brassy moments.
The rather vague final bars of “Try” left the audience uncertain as to whether the piece had ended.
David Lang’s “Increase” juxtaposed chattering, minimalist rhythmic patters with brief passages of sustained notes. It was followed by Missy Mazzoli’s “Still Life with Avalanche,” in which she gave voice to shocking grief over the sudden loss of someone close to her.
The always insistent piece blended droning harmonicas, insistent rhythms and bursts of melodic fragments, moving to a mournful close.
The program’s final offering was Jeremy Podgursky’s percolating, sometimes-comic “Mindjob,” for large ensemble. The piece was full of jangling percussion, engaging rhythms, flavors of familiar modern jazz and new music and, for a moment or two, a bit of circus-band sound.
The Present Music Ensemble for Friday’s concert included: violinists Eric Segnitz and Eleanor Bartsch, violist Claudia Lasareff-Mironoff, cellist Adrien Zitoun, bassist Collins Trier, flutist Jennifer Clippert, oboist Erica Anderson, clarinetist Barbara Drapcho, clarinetist and saxophonist William Helmers, bassoonist Rudi Heinrich, hornist Greg Flint, trumpeter Don Sipe, trombonist Megumi Kanda, pianist Yegor Shevtsov, keyboardist Marty Butorac, and percussionists Carl Storniolo and Ryan Kahlbaugh.
Bloom led the ensemble through an encore of Jherek Bischoff’s take on Kule Kule’s “Konono No. 1.”
Present Music will open its 2016-’17 season with a “Made for Milwaukee” concert: bit.ly/1XZ0NQa.