1. This series is very delightful, and while I couldn't attend the first concert, I made sure to make this one as well as next week! Joan Tower, the "host, conceiver, & curator" of the festival has assembled great music in a wonderful space. All of the composers were present, each spoke before their piece and hung out afterwards for questions and tasty treats.
2. The program began with the outstanding soprano Tony Arnold. She's as great live as she is recorded - and it was awesome to know the Tania Leon work she sang, Singin' Sepia has been recorded by Bridge Records. Look for it this fall, it's an engaging work with brilliant word painting and just the right bit of fun.
3. Joan's Night Field (String Quartet #1) was next and remains one of my favorites. She was quite eloquent addressing the idea of chamber music and this first foray into the quartet world. Skip 13 years and not only is Joan in residence with the OSL, she'll be featured later this summer at La Jolla and this season with the CMS Lincoln Center. (Remember her new work for the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra?)
4. Jennifer Higdon could set the phone book to music and I'd come hear it, and I bet she'd do an amazing job with it! Her Piano Trio is a nice blend of passion, charm and wit - besides winning "best of show" (my own award for this blog entry!) in this art museum where she could point out the "Pale Yellow" depicted in the first movement and the "Fiery Red" in the paintings behind and beside the piano!
5. Libby Larsen rounded out the program with her 2001 Piano Trio. It was written for the Angelfire Festival and as she explained, it's the festival where musicians go to relax from playing at festivals. It was extremely well woven and the perfect ending for the program.
The festival continues next weekend with "Unleashed." Catch it if you can, you'll be happy you did!