The reviews are in: The ALIAS October concert was a triumphant mix of classic and contemporary, including two world premieres and the music of three contemporary American women composers.
ALIAS opened the show with Caroline Shaw’s “Cantico delle creature”, which was originally scored for violin, mezzo soprano and piano. Shaw re-wrote the piece for a Baroque cello part, instead of the viola da gamba, thus birthing a new world premiere. Soprano Lea Maitlen gave a stunning performance of Shaw’s work, along with the dazzling ALIAS musician trio.
“Her rendition was remarkable for its soaring high notes and Verdiesque vibrato, which made Shaw’s simple lyrical lines seem more like opera recitative than chant. Needless to say, her performance was deeply felt, and one couldn’t help but admire her plush, feathery sound. Pianist Melissa Rose, cellist Matt Walker and violinist Zeneba Bowers accompanied with color and sensitivity.”
–John Pitcher, ArtsNash
The ensemble then launched into Kenji Bunch’s technically challenging Suite for viola and piano, which received a resounding round of applause, along with special accolades for ALIAS violist Chris Farrell’s performance.
“Farrell’s performance had everything – sensitivity, nuance, a beautiful amber tone and an immaculate sense of the melodic line. Bunch is himself a viola virtuoso of the first rank, and he included just about everything he knows about the instrument in his five-movement suite. Farrell nailed every challenge.”
–John Pitcher, ArtsNash
As a counterpoint to Shaw’s post-modern take on Medieval music, ALIAS rounded out the first half of the performance with Giovanni Antonio Pandolfi’s Mealli Sonatas for violin and continuo. Zeneba Bowers, Matt Walker and Roger Wiesmeyer revived these 400-year-old works, transporting the audience back to the wonders of the 17th Century.
“What struck me about the performance of these works was how alive the trio made such old–almost lost–music sound. Zen’s vibrant, playful Baroque violin playing floated atop Wiesmeyer and Walker’s continuo like a ballerina en pointe.” –Daniel Kozlowski, Where Are We Now?
The second half premiered two string quartets: Jennifer Higdon’s “An Exaltation of Larks” and Margaret Brouwer’s “Demeter Prelude”.
“The quartet played with astounding sensitivity – Alison Gooding’s playing of first violin on Brouwer’s piece particularly struck me as the song of a siren: light, wistful, and captivating. The quartet’s rhythmic prowess and attention to contrapuntal detail served them well on the Higdon, a work which relies on the intricate interplay of four equal voices.” –Daniel Kozlowski, Where Are We Now?
Read the full reviews from Daniel Kozlowski and John Pitcher below…
The October concert raised just over $1,200 for our nonprofit spotlight partner, Better Decisions. ALIAS adopts three nonprofit partners each season, and shares the spotlight with one nonprofit at every series performance. This “spotlight” nonprofit partner has the opportunity to share its message with the audience, and receives 100% of the proceeds from that concert… no strings attached.