Weekend MusicWatch: Portland Journal

Cantores in Ecclesia performs at the William Byrd Festival

Cantores in Ecclesia performs at the William Byrd Festival

It may be the slow season for big, splashy shows, but Oregon’s late summer classical music ebb tide provides a welcome opening for new voices. Last week, it was Portland composer Christopher Corbell, whose thoughtful vocal chamber music graced Classical Revolution’s inaugural Cult of Orpheus composer showcase. This Tuesday, it’s young Portland composer Jedadiah Bernards, who’s worked with Horse Feathers, Peter Broderick, Alameda, and others, using some of the same performers in his own “Portland Journal,” based on his experiences in the city, and other originals. The performance includes works by other contemporary composers, including Alvin Curran (who rose to fame in the 1960s and ’70s for his radical sounds), gamelan-influenced LA composer Bill Alves, and Portland’s own grandmaster, Tomas Svoboda. The intimate show, like so many others in modern music history, happens not in a concert hall but rather at an art gallery: the Timeshare Gallery in the Everett Lofts, on the edgy border between Portland’s Pearl District and Old Town.

Pianists Mitchell Falconer and Maria Choban will play Bill Alves's "The Black Toccata" at Timeshare Gallery Tuesday, as they did earlier this month at the Portland Art Museum Plaza on a piano provided by PushPianoPlay!

Pianists Mitchell Falconer and Maria Choban will play Bill Alves’s “The Black Toccata” at Timeshare Gallery Tuesday, as they did earlier this month at the Portland Art Museum Plaza on a piano provided by PushPianoPlay!

That concert involves mostly pianists, and the piano plenitude we told you about recently continues (this time indoors) this weekend. Friday at noon at downtown Portland’s St. James Lutheran Church, when, in the last installment of its weekly summer 4X4 series, pianists Angela Carson and Becky Jeffers perform “Shuffle” by Joseph Youngen, and works by three composers whose anniversaries are being celebrated this year: Benjamin Britten, Richard Wagner, and Joe Green, er, Giuseppe Verdi. In another noontime concert, pianist Marlise Stroebe makes one of her regular appearances at downtown Portland’s The Old Church Tuesday, playing music by J.S. Bach, Mozart, Hildegard of Bingen, Chopin Lili Boulanger, Piazzolla and more. And still another pianist, Catherine Marie Charlton, plays her own compositions and improvisations Friday at Portland’s Classic Pianos.

Flute fans should flock to southeast Portland’s Community Music Center Saturday evening to hear flutist Robert Beall and friends (including three singers) play chamber music by J.S. Bach, Schubert, and more in a free concert.

Fiddlers and parents and teachers thereof might want to check out violin deity Mark O’Connor’s free workshop at Portland State University Monday morning, August 26, where the Seattle native will explain his new teaching method, an alternative to the Suzuki approach, which emphasizes traditional American music.

Jazz and blues fans can cross the big river for Vancouver’s annual Wine and Jazz Festival, which this year features Portland legends like David Friesen, Farnell Newton, Dan Balmer and more, plus the Brubeck Brothers, Austin blues breakers the Fabulous Thunderbirds and Marcia Ball, and smoother stuff.

The biggest concert of the weekend is the closing show in the 16th annual William Byrd Festival, Sunday night at southeast Portland’s St. Stephens Church. Director Mark Williams will conduct Portland’s great Cantores in Ecclesia choir in some of the festival namesake’s greatest hits, conducted in previous festivals by Williams’ predecessor, Richard Marlow, who died earlier this summer. If you cherish Renaissance choral music, this is the concert to catch.

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