American Festival of Microtonal Music
5/27/99 Finale highlights
Columbia University's St. Paul's Chapel
The combined tone colors of Anastasia Solberg's viola and
Greg Evans French Horn filled Columbia University's St. Paul's Chapel
with Anton Rovner's quarter tone Appel a deux. A dense rich
work by this new microtonalist.
The next set was performed by the virtuoso AFMM quartet of
Andrew Bolotowsky, flute, Michiyo Suzuki, clarinet, Anastasia
Solberg, viola and AFMM director Johnny Reinhard, bassoon.
Four works, spanning almost a thousand years and showing
extreme tuning techniques. From the anonymous Pythagorean
Hymnus und Organum (1000) and Coimbra Manuscript (1500)
to the more recent Free Music, V.2 (Percy Granger, 1939)
and the more extreme 31tet of Ivan Wyschnegradsky's Etude
Ultracromatique (1959) - this was an amazingly twisted
programing decision. Also very good programing decision!
An early Harry Partch piece, Potion Scene (1931)
was expertly performed by soprano Meredith Borden and violist
Solberg. An amazing performance, there was no doubt that this
was Partch! Originaly written during the same period as the Li
Po songs for vocalist Rudolphine Radil, Partch rarely performed or
even recorded this setting from Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet.
A solo bassoon piece in 48tet for master bassoonist Johnny
Reinhard by Joeseph Person slid around target pitches and
microtones hung in space due to the resonant ambience of
St. Pauls. I hope this piece remains in Reinhard's solo
repertoire, I'd like to hear it again and it deserves
to be heard again.
Finally, AFMM regular Skip LaPlante, tuned percussion performed
Camping in the Backyard, a five movement 17tet masterpiece.
Joining LaPlante, Bolotowsky and Reinhard was Mathew Fields
on string bass. A joyous romp around the yard, my favorite
was Raunchy Blues.
Lastly, I'd like to point out the amazing musicanship
displayed by the AFMM musicans. Every year they effortlessly
perform a stylistically wide range of music in a wide range
or tunings. From alternate equal temperaments (today's
17, 24, 31, 48) to the whole number ratios of just intonation
(Partch's 43 tones) and beyond, they make performing
this music accurately seem easy.
I'm already looking forward to this falls AFMM Orchestral
performances in October 1999.
* D a v i d B e a r d s l e y
* J u x t a p o s i t i o n E z i n e
* M E L A v i r t u a l d r e a m house monitor