The reviews are in: Wednesday’s ALIAS Spring Concert – which launched three World Premieres – was a triumphant mix of creative collaborations. The concert featured the Premieres of Pulitzer-Prize winning composer Paul Moravec’s Amorisms and Sacred Love Songs — both performed with the spectacular vocalists of Portara Ensemble.
Moravec’s Shakespeare-inspired love themed pieces – “Love is a Spirit” from Venus and Adonis, “How Quick and Fresh” from Twelfth Night, “The Course of True Love” from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, “Sweet Lovers” from As You Like It, and “When Love Speaks” from Love’s Labours Lost – all received high praise from ArtsNash’s John Pitcher:
“Portara Ensemble, under the expert direction of Shreyas Patel, sang every syllable with nuance, sensitivity and a beautifully blended sound. Clarinetist Lee Levine, violinists Alison Gooding and Zeneba Bowers, violist Christopher Farrell and cellist Sari Reist were all spot on, providing accompaniment that was colorful and energetic.”
The first half closed with Sacred Love Songs, set to music Biblical texts along with the meditation “A Prayer of St. Francis.” The audience was so moved by ALIAS and Portara’s interpretation of the piece, there was a moment of silence, just before the thunderous applause. Pitcher described the performance as “sparkling, luminous vocal lines with rhythmically complex and dissonant instrumental accompaniment.”
But it was the third World Premiere by ALIAS’s own Matt Walker: Grooves for string quartet, which brought some of the most energetic audience applause. The audience included 12th & Broad’s Meagan Rhodes, who penned an invitation to come experience ALIAS for the first time:
“Too often, Millennials think classical music is complicated, academic, stuffy, old-fashioned and boring. WRONG. It’s absolutely fascinating and incredibly beautiful…but to top it off, there’s a group in town that has dusted off their music stands for some earth-shattering new music. If you haven’t been to an ALIAS Chamber Ensemble concert yet, you are seriously missing out.”
Walker’s cello blazed in Grooves, along with violinists Zeneba Bowers and Jeremy Williams, and violist Chris Farrell, who had the audience moving along with the contagious blues rhythms. The energetic performance proved that ALIAS concerts are anything but “academic, stuffy, old-fashioned and boring”.
Moravec’s mesmerizing Amorisms closed the concert and featured five of Shakespeare’s aphorisms about love. The piece moved the audience to a standing ovation, after witnessing this fluid, flawless performance.
ALIAS and Portara will perform works from Amorisms with the Nashville Ballet for yet another cross-genre “Emergence” series, May 29-31, at The Martin Center. If you missed the ALIAS Spring Concert, “Emergence” is your chance to experience a live performance of Amorisms, which is now in the recording process with the expected CD release date in early 2015.
For a full description of every stunning piece from the ALIAS Spring Concert, read John Pitcher’s entire review in ArtsNash.