Weekend MusicWatch: Spring [Break] for Music

Chanticleer sings at Portland's Reed College Friday.

Chanticleer sings at Portland’s Reed College Friday.

Don’t worry, this weekend’s dip in Oregon’s usually burgeoning arts schedule is just the usual spring break musicus interruptus… just like that rain outside is only a brief interregnum between our annual pair of spring seasons. There’ll be lots more music to tell you about next weekend, but this one still boasts plenty of musical highlights, including a choral battle of the sexes in Portland, both within Chanticleer’s “She Said/He Said” program, and between that terrific, San Francisco-based all-male choir and two of Portland’s own excellent, all-female vocal ensembles. In fact, hard-choir listeners can catch all three!

Chanticleer, Friday, Kaul Auditorium, Reed College, Portland. Read my Willamette Week preview

In Mulieribus, Sunday, St. Aidan’s Episcopal Church, Portland. $10. The sublime women’s vocal ensemble sings Lenten music by Renaissance and medieval masters including Palestrina, Victoria, Morales, Josquin, Brumel and more.

The Julians, Saturday, Shaker and Vine, Portland. $10. The genre-crossing women’s quartet sings music of Estonian composer Veljo Tormis, Icelandic composer Björk, Palestrina, Alanis Morissette, Gillian Welch, Czech composer Bedřich Smetana, and more.

Postcard from Morocco, Portland Opera, Thursday and Saturday, Keller Auditorium, Portland. See Angela Allen’s preview  and Katie Taylor’s review.

Trio con Brio-Copenhagen performs at Portland State University Monday and Tuesday. Photo by Soeren Svendsen

Trio con Brio-Copenhagen performs at Portland State University Monday and Tuesday. Photo by Soeren Svendsen


José Antonio Rodríguez, Friday, The Old Church, Portland. Read my preview.

Shantala Subranmanyan, Akkarai Sornalatha & Melakkaveri Balaji,  Saturday, First Baptist Church, Portland. Read my preview. 

3 Leg Torso, Sunday, Coaster Theatre, Cannon Beach. Portland’s inimitable world chamber ensemble swings to the coast.

Trio con Brio Copenhagen, Monday and Tuesday, Lincoln Hall, Portland State University, $30–$45. Friends of Chamber Music’s second program of the week (and they have another one a few days later!) is one of its best. The award-winning Copenhagen piano-violin-cello threesome’s 2012 concert was one of the best of that chamber music season, but this lineup will be slightly different, with violinist Natalia Prischepenko replacing Soo-Jin Hong during the latter’s maternity leave. Monday’s performance includes trios by their fellow Dane, 81-year-old Per Nørgård, Smetana and Beethoven the latter’s great “Archduke” trio.

“Per Nørgård has developed in Spell a new system in which each individual musician – within an overall predetermined framework – gradually alters … a particular note or musical figure’s… volume, duration and tempo, and the development of these parameters is determined by impulses from the other musicians,” the liner notes to TCBC’s recording explain about Norgard’s shimmering 1973 trio. “Every performance differs according to the impulses the musicians give each other….The music is perceived as a large, pulsating organism consisting of individual elements that gradually alter and are partially independent of each other – like cloud formations that imperceptibly change shape and constantly renew themselves, developing in wonderful new directions. The shifting creates the illusion that the time and space of the music are simultaneously static and being reassembled. The moment transcends the now and stretches into eternity.”

Tuesday’s concert also boasts Brahms’s B major trio, Op. 8, Mozart’s glittering E major trio, K. 542 (written just before his last immortal trio of symphonies), and another of the cool re-discoveries this intrepid trio usually brings to its programs: Catalan cellist/composer Gaspar Cassadó’s dance-drenched, folk-inflected 1929 Trio in C major — a seldom-performed crowd pleaser. Read Alice Hardesty’s interview with TCBC pianist Jen Elvekjaer.


Newport Symphony, Saturday and Sunday, Newport Performing Arts Center. Adam Flatt leads the orchestra in music by two composers who share a surname —Richard and Johann Strauss — but little else. The Waltz King meets the The Cavalier of the Roses and Death and Transfiguration, whose waltzes are quite a bit different from Johann’s.

Seattle Symphony, Sunday, Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall. SOLD OUT.  With the Sonics long gone and Portland still lacking an NFL or MLB franchise, we’re left to the respective Northwest cities’ orchestras for a symphonic smack down, and it’s too bad this one is sold out, as it’d offer a nice comparison to the home state team. The superb program features a major new work by the greatest living Northwest composer, commissioned by the dynamic SSO and its relatively new, forward-looking conductor Ludovic Morello, who’s been winning acclaim in Seattle for his contemporary programming.


“Imagining Venice’s Soundscape,” Sunday, Portland Art Museum. As part of the museum’s Venice exhibit, Princeton professor Wendy Heller “explores the rhythms and rituals of Venice’s musical life.”

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