MusicWatch Weekly: In the White Silence

Unusual weather and usual calendar lull take toll on Oregon music performances this week

This week’s headline quotes a composition title by erstwhile Alaska composer John Luther Adams because once again, outdoor conditions will likely affect this week’s indoor entertainment options. We probably won’t be updating this post, so be sure to check with the presenters and venues of any concerts you hope to attend for the next few days. Or download some of our recommended 2016 Oregon CDs, or consult Gary Ferrington’s ArtsWatch guide to streaming music and listen at home. This Thursday, for example, you might tune in (online or over the air) to All Classical Radio’s Thursdays @ Three show to hear the cellist starring with the Oregon Symphony (see details below), or to its Played in Oregon program, which this Sunday features a couple of 21st century pieces (by New York composers Richard Danielpour and Andy Akiho) and more, recorded live at recent Chamber Music Northwest performances. Both shows will be archived on the station’s website for a couple weeks, when you can listen on demand. If you know of other shows our brave readers might want to venture out to experience live, please note them in the comments section below — and please be careful ambulating, riding, or driving on the way there or back.

Portland Old Time Music Gathering
January 11-15
Various Portland venues.
From Cajun and country to stringband and square dance, here’s the kind of retro musical experience that pop and folk music normally leave to the classical music museum. Nice to see traditional Americana sounds getting their own showcase too. If you want to hear a contemporary master performing in that tradition, check out David Bromberg’s Friday show at Portland’s Aladdin Theater or Saturday’s show at Bend’s Domino Room.

Tierney Sutton
January 12
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, 868 High Street, Eugene.
The jazz singer’s latest album is called The Sting Variations, so don’t be surprised to see her quartet taking some Police action, along with the jazzified Joni Mitchell and Sinatra covers and American songbook standards that brought her initial acclaim.

Reel Music 34
January 13-February 5
Northwest Film Center’s Whitsell Auditorium, Portland Art Museum, 1219 SW Park Avenue, Portland.
Read Bob Hicks’s ArtsWatch preview. Primarily a film festival, of course, but of great interest to music fans as well, the Northwest Film Center’s annual orgy of music related cinema always brings high quality, often hard to find and rarely seen sonic screen gems. Jazz fans will be especially interested in this weekend’s offerings featuring films about W. Eugene Smith’s famed jazz loft, the great trumpeter Lee Morgan’s lover and killer, and the so called King of Jazz (so dubbed when Louis Armstrong so many other true musical royalty reigned, but hey, they weren’t white), Paul Whiteman.

Alban Gerhardt performs with the Oregon Symphony.

Oregon Symphony
January 14-16
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
Frequent guest cellist Alban Gerhardt returns to star in French composer Henri Dutilleux’s 1970 moody, mid-century modernist cello concerto, written for Mstislav Rostropovich. The Haydn-happy orchestra plays the composer’s delightful 80th symphony (which starts out like one of his earlier storm and stress tests, then undergoes a climate change), one of its signature works, Respighi’s colorful 1924 historical postcard The Pines of Rome, and Cesar Franck’s 1877 Wagnerian symphonic poem The Breezes, sort of an airy predecessor to Debussy’s later, far deeper The Sea.

Assuming he can snowshoe or ski to the studios of Portland’s All Classical Radio, Gerhardt will also appear on the station’s live Thursdays @ Three show on January 12, where he’ll play a lot of solo Bach, of course, plus solo cello music by Ligeti and Rostropovich. With the performance archived on the station’s website for a couple weeks for on-demand listening, it’s another opportunity to catch at least a virtual version of local classical music from the warmth of home.

Natasha Paremski performs at Portland Piano International. Photo: Andrea Joynt.

Natasha Paremski
January 14-15
Portland State University’s Lincoln Hall.
The prizewinning Moscow-born, New York based pianist starred in one of last season’s top classical moments: her thrilling performance of the great contemporary American composer Paul Schoenfield’s Four Parables for piano and orchestra with the Oregon Symphony. She’s performed with dozens of the world’s major orchestras, given recitals in some of its most prestigious venues, and played plenty of 21st century music. Music by a couple of contemporary composers appears in Saturday’s Portland Piano International recital, the more exciting being Thomas Ades’s playful-to-pensive 2009 Three Mazurkas. The overwhelming bulk of her recitals, though, comes from the usual 19th century suspects: Beethoven, Brahms, Chopin, Rachmaninov.

Oregon Bach Collegium
January 15
Church of the Resurrection, 3925 Hilyard Street, Eugene.
University of Oregon early music expert and cellist Marc Vanscheeuwijck and Eugene church organist and Bach specialist Julia Brown play music for cello and Viennese fortepiano by J. S. Bach, his student Carl Friedrich Abel (a master of the five string cello), Bach’s fifth son Johann Christoph Friedrich Bach, and the latter’s contemporary Carl Heinrich Graun.

Yannayer
January 15
Read my Willamette Week preview of the Moroccan-music fueled Berber new year celebration.

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