Weekly MusicWatch: Wordly sounds

If you’re ready to emerge from the Prince (RIP) songs and mourning — and some of us ArtsWatchers are still reeling — there’s a wide range of attractive music to be found in Oregon this weekend, not all of it in traditional venues. Be sure to let readers know about other recommended shows in the comments section below.

Lisa Lynne & Aryeh Frankfurter
April 28
Cerimon House, 5131 NE 23rd Ave. Portland
The San Francisco string duo performs on Celtic harps, Swedish nyckelharpa, Ukrainian bandura, bouzouki, and ancient cittern, mingling traditional folk and original music with stories.

Johnny Clegg
April 28
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, Eugene
The great South African singer/songwriter/anti-apartheid activist brings his danceable mix of Western and Zulu pop music, as well as his son Jesse, a best selling South African rocker in his own right.

LAGQ performs in Portland.

LAGQ performs in Portland.

Los Angeles Guitar Quartet
April 29
First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave. Portland
The individual members — all stars on their instruments — have played here before, but it’s hard to believe that this is the legendary foursome’s first collective Portland appearance. What makes them special is not only their nonpareil virtuosity but also their varied influences, with the members boasting accomplishments in classical, jazz, rock, bluegrass, soundtracks, and even flamenco guitar. Their comparably diverse program includes music by JS Bach, Claude Debussy, Manuel de Falla, Chet Atkins, Pat Metheny, Alfonso Montes, Aaron Copland, Allan Willcocks and more. This pinnacle of the Portland Classic Guitar season is a must for guitar fans.

Esma and Folk Masters
April 29
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of the Queen of Romani music and her sextet’s concert of Macedonian and gypsy music.

Portland Columbia Symphony
April 29-May 1
Read my Willamette Week preview of the orchestra’s all-American program, including a new co-commission by one of the most popular 21st century American composers, Christopher Theofanidis.

Portland Cello Project
April 29-30
The Old Church, Portland
PCP has gotten so popular that it’s harder to hear them in relatively intimate confines like this one, but it seems more appropriate for the all-cello ensemble’s programs this time, which go lighter on the pop and hip hop covers and, on Friday, focus more on the contemporary classical compositions and improvs of PCP co-founder Gideon Freudmann (who nonetheless boasts pop cred via his work with Richard Thompson, They Might be Giants and more). Saturday’s entirely different show is programmed by one of the state’s leading new music cellists, Diane Chaplin (who served a long stint with the Colorado Quartet before coming to Portland), who’s teaming up with other well-known classical cellists (Justin Kagan and Oregon Symphony’s Nancy Ives) and PCP leader and cellist extraordinaire Skip vonKuske in arrangements of Western classical music standards for cello quartet.

“The Bat” (Die Fledermaus)
April 30-May 1
Lincoln Performance Hall, 1620 SW Park Ave. Portland State University
PSU’s symphony orchestra accompanies the school’s national award winning opera program’s new full-scale production of Johann Strauss’s bubbly operetta, sung here in English and set in a masquerade ball.

PSU Opera's 'Die Fledermaus' closes this weekend.

PSU Opera’s ‘Die Fledermaus’ closes this weekend.

Tortoise
Revolution Hall, 1300 Se Stark St. Portland
The Chicago quintet’s music has been beyond category for a quarter century, but the band’s description of one track from their new album, The Catastrophist, as “progressive experimental music with pop sensibilities” isn’t a bad start for their singular concoctions involving jazz, structured compositions, funk, minimalism, synthesizers and other electronica and more.

Oregon Symphony
April 29
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland
The orchestra’s tribute to the music of the great film composer John Williams is, alas, sold out, but you can call the box office to see if anyone’s turned in a ticket they can’t use, or try to catch the Salem performance on May 8.

Classical Up Close
Various dates and venues in and around Portland.
The admirable outreach program spearheaded by Oregon Symphony concertmaster Sarah Kwak and sponsored by All Classical Portland returns for a second year, with several concerts and smaller “blitz” performances at churches, an ice cream shop, coffee shop, even American Legion post. Read my ArtsWatch feature from last year.

Oregon Symphony percussionists are among the performers at Classical Up Close this weekend.

Oregon Symphony percussionists are among the performers at Classical Up Close this weekend.

Eugene Concert Choir
April 30
Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center, Eugene
Read my Eugene Weekly preview of the culmination of the choir’s spectacular three-day celebration of Latin American music and culture, featuring Venezuelan guest soloists in Cantata Criolla by Antonio Estévez, a morning kids concert, and much more.

Sara Pajunen
April 30
Nordia House, 8800 SW Oleson Road, Portland
Read Daniel Heila’s ArtsWatch preview.

The Westerlies
April 30
Abbie Weisenbloom Presents, Portland
The house concert series brings the acclaimed young Seattle/New York brass quartet to play their original chamber jazz/contemporary classical compositions.

 

Helmuth Rilling leads Willamette Master Chorus in Salem.

Helmuth Rilling leads Willamette Master Chorus in Salem.

Willamette Master Chorus 
April 30-May 1
Hudson Hall, Willamette University, Salem

Oregon Bach Festival co-founder and eminence grise Helmuth Rilling returns to Oregon to lead some of the music he knows as well as anyone alive: JS Bach’s popular Cantatas 80 (A Mighty Fortress is Our God) and 147 (Heart, Mouth, Deed and Life). He’s joined by some of the state’s top singers, including Catherine van der Salm, Hannah Penn, Les Green, and Anton Belov.

May Day Worker’s Cabaret
May 1
Vie de Boheme, 1530 SE 7th Ave, Portland
Read our ArtsWatch preview of composer Christopher Corbell’s project that combines social justice-oriented music from the 1930s with original music from today’s age of inequality.

FearNoMusic
May 1
Alberta Rose Theatre, Portland
Read my Willamette Week preview of the new music ensemble’s season-ending performance featuring New York new music stalwarts Corey Dargel and Cornelius Dufallo.

Nik Bärtsch’s Mobile
May 1
Alberta Abbey, 126 Alberta Street, Portland
The Swiss jazz keyboardist who impressed the Portland Jazz Festival a few years back returns with a new project that injects some funkiness into the magisterial moodiness and minimalism of his “moduls,” influenced by composers from Reich to Feldman and Japanese traditional music as well as the usual jazz antecedents. Read my 2011 Willamette Week profile featuring his previous project, Ronin.

Portland Youth Philharmonic
May 1
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, 1037 SW Broadway, Portland
The orchestra’s spring concert includes this year’s soloist competition winners performing music by Debussy, Liadov, Kodaly, and Sarasate.

Trio Brasileiro with Anat Cohen
May 3
Jaqua Concert Hall, The Shedd Institute, Eugene
Continuing Eugene’s musical exploration of the southern hemisphere, one of jazz’s leading clarinetists joins the excellent Brazilian choro ensemble (mandolin, percussion, guitar) in a terrific cross cultural collaboration.

Finally, we generally leave the cinematic coverage to the professionals in ArtsWatch’s doughty new film writing dept., we should point out here a couple of chances to experience opera on the big — and also REALLY big — screen. On Saturday, Metropolitan Opera’s Live in HD series shows the other side of Richard Strauss’s operatic compositional personality, although you could argue that battiness is also part of his Elektra, with the orchestra conducted by the great Esa-Pekka Salonen performing in Patrice Chéreau’s final production. Check here for local showtimes. On Sunday and next Thursday, Portland’s Living Room Theaters is showing Zurich Opera’s new production of The Marriage of Figaro, set in the 1930s and conducted by the Cleveland Orchestra’s superb music director Franz Welser-Most. And stay tuned for more magical Mozart opera — this time in the flesh — next week.

Want to read more about Oregon music? Support Oregon ArtsWatch!
Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

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