In­spired by na­ture

Taos Cham­ber Mu­sic Group to per­form ‘Storm and Still­ness’

Tempo - - •THEATER• -

The Taos Cham­ber Mu­sic (TCMG) con­tin­ues its 25th sea­son with “Storm and Still­ness,” a pro­gram de­voted to mu­sic that is in­spired by the rich­ness of the nat­u­ral world.

As is of­ten the case with TCMG pro­grams, con­tem­po­rary com­posers are fea­tured along­side the greats. This pro­gram in­cludes Kather­ine Hoover’s “Moun­tain & Mesa,” Jen­nifer Hig­don’s “Light Re­fracted,” Lud­wig van Beethoven’s “Pi­ano Quar­tet No. 2,” Ernest Bloch’s “Three Noc­turnes” and Alex Shapiro’s “Desert Thoughts.”

“Storm and Still­ness” will be per­formed Satur­day and Sun­day (Feb. 17-18) at 5:30 p.m. at the Har­wood Mu­seum of Art, 238 Le­doux Street.

“From storm to still­ness, the dra­matic skies, lu­mi­nous light, sub­lime si­lence and nu­mi­nous land­scape of our area have in­formed TCMG’s pro­gram­ming for a quar­ter of a cen­tury,” says TCMG Direc­tor Nancy Laupheimer.

“Storm and Still­ness” in­cludes the works of three liv­ing fe­male com­posers. This is not un­usual for TCMG’s pro­grams, and it is help­ing to cre­ate a new norm in the mu­sic world.

Com­poser Alex Shapiro, who is in­cluded on the pro­gram, re­cently com­mented to Laupheimer on this as­pect of TCMG. “I’m re­ally im­pressed that the en­sem­ble pro­grams so many com­posers who hap­pen to be fe­male with­out mak­ing a big deal about that de­tail. You’re do­ing a great deal to nat­u­rally in­cor­po­rate our work as part of the norm, and thus af­fect­ing the way in which au­di­ences view it.”

Shapiro de­scribes “Desert Thoughts,” which was writ­ten in 2008 for flute, clar­inet and pi­ano, as driven by the vi­sion of a still, dry desert land­scape over­taken by a sud­den rain­storm that re­freshes the flora and fauna, bring­ing the scene to life.

Kather­ine Hoover’s “Moun­tain and Mesa” is a com­po­si­tion for flute and pi­ano with three move­ments that ex­plore world flute tra­di­tions from the gypsy mu­sic of a Hun­gar­ian lassu to the melody of a Hopi lul­laby joined with bird­song to the dance mu­sic of a Chi­nese bam­boo flute.

Jen­nifer Hig­don re­cently won her sec­ond Grammy award and is a Pulitzer Prize win­ner. Her com­po­si­tion, “Light Re­fracted,” for clar­inet, vi­o­lin, vi­ola, cello and pi­ano was writ­ten in 2002.

“The open­ing of the gor­geous first move­ment, ‘In­ward,’ con­nects to still­ness, and the tu­mul­tuous sec­ond move­ment, ‘Out­ward,’ seems to de­pict a storm,” says Laupheimer.

Works by these three liv­ing com­posers are per­formed along­side com­po­si­tions by Ernest Bloch and Lud­wig van Beethoven. Bloch was born in Switzer­land in 1880 and moved to the United States in 1916. Laupheimer said his mu­si­cal in­ter­ests in­cluded Asian scales and sonori­ties, French im­pres­sion­ism, Amer­i­can spir­i­tu­als, Neo­clas­si­cism and Ju­daism and He­braic mu­sic. Bloch died in 1959.

Beethoven (1770-1827) com­posed “Pi­ano Quar­tet No. 2 in D Ma­jor” in 1785 when he was only 15 years old. Writ­ten in the clas­si­cal style of Mozart and Haydn, its three move­ments con­vey a youth­ful ex­u­ber­ance as well as a touch­ing lyri­cism, noted Laupheimer.

“I think that mix­ing newer and older works makes for more bal­anced pro­grams and gives mu­sic from all eras dif­fer­ent con­texts in which to be heard when com­bined in the same per­for­mance,” Laupheimer said.

“I like to put a more rec­og­niz­able work, such as the Beethoven, af­ter pieces that are new to our au­di­ences,” Laupheimer said. “I think they will hear the quar­tet in a to­tally new way!”

“Storm and Still­ness” will be per­formed by TCMG mu­si­cians El­iz­a­beth Baker (vi­o­lin), David Fel­berg (vi­ola), Sally Guen­ther (cello), Nancy Laupheimer (flute), Keith Lem­mons (clar­inet) and Kim Bakkum (pi­ano).

Asked to re­flect on the 25th an­niver­sary of TCMG and the role the or­ga­ni­za­tion has played in bring­ing world-class cham­ber mu­sic to the Taos com­mu­nity, Board Pres­i­dent Mary Burns re­sponded: “It seems to me that Taos was ripe for year-round cham­ber mu­sic when we got started in 1993. We were able to find enough donors in the early years to get es­tab­lished.”

Burns com­mended flutist Nancy Laupheimer for her abil­ity “to at­tract bet­ter and bet­ter mu­si­cians” to join her in per­for­mances.

“We got a lucky break when the Har­wood Mu­seum ex­panded and wanted to present mu­sic in its gallery space up­stairs, which gave us a con­sis­tent home,” Burns con­tin­ued. “It got even bet­ter when the Har­wood ex­panded again and added the Bell Au­di­to­rium. The rest is his­tory as they say.”

Board mem­ber Jean Kenin added, “Our lis­ten­ers and mu­si­cians alike count on con­sis­tently in­no­va­tive pro­gram­ming, which seeks to find that ex­quis­ite bal­ance be­tween old and new mu­sic with young and seasoned play­ers.”

Tickets are $25, $12 for stu­dents with a

20 per­cent dis­count avail­able to Har­wood mem­bers if tickets are pur­chased at the musuem gift shop. Tickets are also avail­able at ta os cham­ber mu­sic group. org. Af­ter the per­for­mances, con­cert­go­ers may re­ceive a din­ner dis­count from Doc Martin’s, Mar­tyrs, the Gorge Bar & Grill and Lam­bert’s restau­rants.

For more in­for­ma­tion, call the venue at (575) 758-9826 or visit taoscham­ber­mu­sic­group.org.

COURTESY PHOTO

COM­POSER Alex Shapiro

By Ari­ana Kramer

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