Next month Earplay, the consortium of composers and musicians (the latter calling themselves the Earplayers), will give the final concert in its 2016 three-concert season. The overall title for this season has been Test of Time with programs that bring some of the most recent compositions, including world premieres, into juxtaposition with major works from the recent past. The title of the final program is From Here On Farther, which honors the past since it is also the title of a work composed by Stefan Wolpe in 1969.
Wolpe frequently used his chamber music to explore the sonorous possibilities arising from unconventional combinations of instruments. “From Here on Farther” was scored for violin, clarinet, bass clarinet, and piano. It is one of the pieces he worked on after the onset of Parkinson’s disease in 1964, when he was in his early sixties. The music covers a wide spectrum of emotional dispositions, described by the Earplayers as “romp and meditation, explosion and repose.”
At the other end of the timeline, the Earplayers will present the world premiere of “Redintegration,” which Earplay commissioned from the young Bay Area composer Nick Bacchetto. Bacchetto’s musical interests began in rock and, under the influence of teacher Mike Galisatus, extended out into jazz. From there he moved into the domain of writing for classical ensembles. “Redintegration” is scored for flute and string trio, a far more conventional instrumentation; but, like “From Here on Farther,” the piece explores broad swings of emotional dispositions with intense activity at one end of eerie stillness at the other.
The program will also present the West Coast premiere of “Birdsong” by Vivian Fung, scored for violin and piano. Somewhat in the spirit of Olivier Messiaen, Fung has chosen to examine the natural properties of bird calls as a source of both rhythmic and melodic patterns. She created the piece to showcase the virtuosity of both piano and violin, and both players are provided with opportunities for improvisation.
The final work on the program will be Lee Hyla’s three-movement “My Life on the Plains,” which he composed in 2010. This is a septet that appears to have taken Wolpe’s instrumentation as a point of departure and then added viola, cello, and percussion (with the percussionist playing a generous assortment of both mallet and hammered instruments). Each of the players is provided with solo passages, giving the entire composition a sense of a latter-day concerto grosso.
This concert will take place on Monday, May 15, beginning at 7:30 p.m. There will also be a pre-concert talk at 6:45 p.m. and a reception following the concert. The venue will be the ODC Theater, located in the Mission at 3153 17th Street at the corner of Shotwell Street. Tickets are $25 for general admission and $10 for students with valid identification. Tickets are not yet available online, but they should be by the beginning of next month, after this concert has been added to the online Events Calendar for ODC.