Fans of vocal and choral music should find an abundance — maybe an overabundance — of recommended concerts on Oregon stages this weekend, and there are plenty of chamber and orchestral offerings available too. As always, if you know of more shows ArtsWatch readers should consider, please post recommendations in the comments section below.
XX Digitus Piano Duo
The Old Church, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of this excellent, mostly 20th century program (plus a Portland composer’s world premiere) by a pianistic piano pair that impressed us mightily in a recent Cascadia Composers concert.
“The Light Within: The Germany Concert”
University of Oregon Chamber Choir, Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon, Eugene.
On the eve of its departure for Germany’s prestigious Marktoberdorf International Chamber Choir Competition, the award winning chorus sings an admirably varied program of sacred and secular music by ancient (Purcell, Brahms, Palestrina, and others) and modern (Stephen Paulus, Oregon native Morten Lauridsen, Scotland’s James MacMillan, Stacey Gibbs) choral masters, plus a high-speed medley of 16 American folk songs in four minutes.
Hult Center, Eugene.
To close its season, the orchestra plays one of Haydn’s sparkling cello concertos, Strauss’s tone poem A Hero’s Life, and Samuel Barber’s famous Adagio for strings.
Eugene Vocal Arts, Oregon Renaissance Band, St. Paul’s Parish Hall, 1201 Satre St., Eugene.
The ensemble’s annual dinner-performance features madrigals by English composer Thomas Morley, sacred music by the great Spanish composer Tomas Luis de Victoria, plus authentic dances, food, decor, costumed actors, and the historical instruments (violin, recorders, sackbutts, viola da gamba, krummhorns, lute, tabor) fashioned by Portland early music mavens Phil and Gayle Neuman.
Roberto Fabbri and Alberto Cumplido
May 15, Marylhurst University, Wiegand Hall, Lake Oswego.
May 17, St. Catherine’s Episcopal Church, Nehalem.
The Italian and Chilean guitarists are both composers as well as internationally recognized performers, so along with 19th century music by Fernando Sor and Anton Diabelli, they’ll play originals — including an homage to Eddie Van Halen.
“New American Classics”
FearNoMusic, Mississippi Studios, 3939 N Mississippi Ave., Portland.
Despite what the backward-looking repertoire of most chamber music groups and festivals would suggest, classics are still being made. We won’t know for years whether the two attractive works by esteemed 21st century American composers on this program by Portland’s adventurous new music ensemble — Stephen Harke’s piano quartet King of the Sun and Osvaldo Golijov’s The Dreams and Prayers of Isaac the Blind for string quartet and klezmer clarinet — will rise to that exalted level, but they’re all worth hearing right here and now.
Holocene, 1001 SE Morrison, Portland.
The acclaimed composer, who’s worked with everyone from David Bowie to Don Cherry to Madonna to Tim Berne, plays music from his atmospheric new solo album, in which his guitar slices shadowy near-ambient spaciousness with occasional serrated textures.
Jazz Station, 124 West Broadway, Eugene.
Bassist and composer Lyle Hopkins’s ensemble, featuring composer/flutist and ArtsWatch contributor Daniel Heila and multi-instrumentalist Christian Parkess, plays improvised sounds influenced by the music of John Zorn and John Cage.
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
Accompanied by tablawallah Satish Tare and Vivek Datar on harmonium, the Mumbai-based vocal star sings classical Hindustani music.
Curious Comedy Theater, Portland.
With direction from the sequined one’s long time music director Bo Ayars, the Portland pianist revives his tribute to Liberace, a hit at the recent Fertile Ground Festival. This performance benefits Portland’s KQAC classical radio.
Portland Peace Choir
Unity of Portland, 4525 SE Stark St., Portland.
The annual free concert includes choral arrangements of music by Peter, Paul and Mary, Harry Belafonte, Cat Stevens, Cyndi Lauper, and Holly Near, plus a choral suite with lyrics arranged from President Lincoln’s writings.
“From Darkness to Light”
Cappella Romana, May 16, 8 pm, St. Mary’s Cathedral, 1739 NW Couch St, and May 17, 2 pm, Trinity Episcopal Cathedral, 147 NW 19th Ave. Portland.
Esteemed British composer Ivan Moody conducts Portland’s stellar vocal ensemble in rarely heard contemporary European choral works. Moody, an expert on the music of Alfred Schnittke, leads 26 singers in a performance of the great 20th century Russian composer’s powerful Verses of Repentance, along with a piece by Galina Grigorjeva, Rachmaninoff’s Concerto for Choir, and Moody’s own Anastasis setting of Eastertide texts in Greek and English.
Vancouver Symphony Orchestra
Skyview Concert Hall, 1300 NW 139th Street, Vancouver, WA.
Spanish clarinetists Juanjo and Tolo Mercadal join the orchestra in the Concerto for Two Clarinets by Franz Krommer, and the VSO closes its season with a selection chosen by ballot by audience members, and Tchaikovsky’s Symphony No. 5.
Laura Wayte and Julia Brown
First United Methodist Church, 1376 Olive Street, Eugene.
The soprano and organist offer a wide-ranging recital of music from the 17th century to the present: Mozart, Monteverdi, Max Reger, Hugo Wolf, Maurice Ravel and contemporary composers Naji Hakim and Grigor Arakelian.
The Little Match Girl Passion
Portland State Chamber Choir
St. Stephen’s Catholic Church, 1112 SE 41st Ave., Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the award winning student choir’s Oregon premiere of the recent Pulitzer Prize winner by David Lang. The choir will also sing a free outdoor performance on the evening of May 19, on Portland’s Waterfront Park, where homeless Oregonians might actually get to hear a piece inspired by homelessness.
Oregon Symphony, Pink Martini
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
The retro-popsters join the even more retro orchestra for a salsafied take on Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf and other classics.
“PSU Celebrates the Music of Tomas Svoboda”
Lincoln Recital Hall, Portland State University, 1620 SW Park Ave., Portland.
In this free concert, Portland State University’s School of Music faculty and students perform the music of the school’s emeritus professor, Tomas Svoboda, in honor of Oregon’s greatest living composer’s 75th year.
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