Weekend MusicWatch: Slow Times

There’s slow motion, Slow Food, Slow Six, Robert Fripp’s Slow Music Project, even a Slow Bike movement. This weekend, it’s slow times in Oregon music but still a few worthy shows to entice you inside.

William Byrd Festival, Saturday and Sunday, St. Stephen’s Church, Portland. New festival director Mark Williams, the English organist who’s worked with the annual celebration of England’s greatest Renaissance composer for many years, leads one of the Northwest’s finest choirs, Cantores in Ecclesia, in this year’s closing choral concert featuring sacred songs by the festival’s namesake and his teacher, the great English composer Thomas Tallis. Cantores music director Blake Applegate leads the singers in Byrd’s magnificent Mass for Four Voices during Saturday’s Solemn Pontifical Mass.

Cantores in Ecclesia performs at the William Byrd Festival.

Cantores in Ecclesia performs at the William Byrd Festival.

Missa Gaia PDX, Sunday, First Unitarian Church, Portland. In this afternoon benefit for a worthy and appropriate cause, Friends of the Columbia Gorge, Susan Peck leads members of various community choirs (including Portland Gay Men’s Chorus, Portland Lesbian Chorus, Aurora Chorus, Satori, Portland Peace Choir, and more), plus a pair of vocal soloists and jazz/classical chamber nonet in the Earth Mass composed in 1980 by members of New Age composer Paul Winter’s Consort. Combining singers, global percussion, soprano sax, pipe organ, rhythm section, and the sounds of humpback whales, wolves, seals, loons and other critters, it’s sort of like the mass at the Byrd Festival, but for Unitarians. Actually, it’s for anyone who celebrates the planet’s natural beauty and is willing to briefly abandon it to venture indoors for an hour or so.

Ganesh Rajagopalan, S.V.Ramani, Osam Ezzeldin, Dafnis Prieto Saturday, Winningstad Theater, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview of one of the season’s most intriguing world music fusion concerts.

Art of the Wild, Columbia Center for the Arts, Hood River. To celebrate the half century anniversary of one of 20th century America’s greatest achievements, the Wilderness Act, the center chose a half dozen artists, including Portland composer Christina Rusnak, to create works inspired by wilderness areas saved by the law. In her case, it’s a five minute tribute to Mt. Adams for flute, viola and percussion, which will be performed along with recent music by American composer Jacob Druckman and more.

Cascadia Concert Opera, Saturday, The Atrium, Eugene, and Wednesday, The Old Church, Portland. Gian Carlo Menotti’s The Old Maid and the Thief has gotten a couple of splendid workouts in Portland (via Opera Theater Oregon and Eugene (via the University of Oregon Opera Ensemble recently, but it’s wickedly delightful enough to withstand repeated productions, including this concert reading by the little company that brings opera to various under-operaed venues around the state.

You’ve probably heard the news, from Kent Brockman, about the upcoming Simpsons marathon, and in honor of the greatest series ever made (and by an Oregonian, no less!), here’s a musical montage that ends with a philosophy ArtsWatch can get behind.

As always, if you’re aware of Oregon performances not listed here that ArtsWatchers should know about, be sure to let us know. And for now, go with the slow. We promise it’ll be speeding up very soon.

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