1. The evening began with the premiere of Sean Shepherd's Preludes. These three works were interesting and captivating, and in the best sense, pianist Sar Shalom Strong seemed to be creating them as the performance went along.
2. Next cellist Elinor Frey eloquently explained and then presented Kaija Saariaho's solo cello piece Sept Papillons (seven butterflies). To say that Frey conveyed passion and technique well beyond her years is an understatement, she clearly has a connection and understanding of this work. It was a great teaser for the premiere later on the program.
3. Next were two works by a dear composing friend of mine, Augusta Read Thomas. These performances of Rumi Settings & Caprice weren't as polished as I wished they might have been, nor were they as exciting as the notes written. That said, it was nice to have them on this program.
4. Up next were the premiere of 4 Episodes for Clarinet and piano by Fred Cohen. I've not heard Fred's music before and want to hear more. I was less than entertained or engaged by these works - maybe an intermission would have helped here. In any case, the material was not unpleasant, perhaps some prunning would be in order.
5. The evening finished with Pulitzer Prize winning composer Steven Stucky. The premiere of his Dialoghi and a combination of all the performers on this program (2 violins, viola, cello, clarinet & piano) in his Partita-Pastorale after J.S.B.. Elinor Frey was back for the Dialoghi, with a few remarks by the composer. It was short and sweet, poetic and a conversation that made you smile and think. The performance alone was worth the ticket price and travel time! The Partita is a perfect closer and left the audience pleased, ready for snacks and beverages at the reception afterwards.
It was a charming, well varied program and was glad to hear it. Portions will be heard on Composing Thoughts later!