Giacinto Scelsi: Okanagan (1968)
Elliot Carter: A Mirror on Which to Dwell (1975)
Tobias Picker: Octet (1978)
Steve Mackey: Five Animated Shorts (2006)
All performances include a 7pm pre-concert talk with the composers and music director, as well as a post-concert reception.
Four young and less-young classics of the twentieth century, works from startlingly divergent musical worlds, open Collage’s 2019-2020 season. Of his Okanagon, for three low-pitched and amplified instruments, Giacinto Scelsi, one of Italy’s most important if still obscure composers of the 20th century, said it was like “grasping the heartbeat of the Earth." From the other extreme from this eerie, ritualistic music is one of the most involving works by one of the most involving composers of our era, Elliott Carters’s grand setting of six poems by the great American poet Elizabeth Bishop, here sung by the luscious-toned and astute soprano Sharon Harms, who appears with Collage for the first time.
In Tobias Picker’s early Octet, the lyrical and volatile crash into each other like tectonic plates. This unpredictable, single-movement work wears its serious humor in a most peculiar way, as does Steven Mackey’s Five Animated Shorts, in which playful and glittery music throws seven virtuosic soloists into a fantastical world of cimbalom-driven folk music and—somehow—imagined still-photographs of a running dog!