Weekly MusicWatch: Romantic classics

Music by Romantic composers dominates this week's Oregon classical music concerts

The fall flood of fab jazz continues on Oregon stages this week, along with recommended classical music from medieval to modern and more — including an eruption of German romanticism from Mahler, Liszt, Brahms, Schubert and more. Please add your recommendations in the comments section below.

Frode Gjerstad Trio
October 19
Turn! Turn! Turn!, 8 NE Killingsworth, Portland.
This Creative Music Guild show actually features a different incarnation of the Norwegian alto saxophonist’s usual threesome, this time featuring the renowned Chicago cellist Fred Lonberg-Holm, the one-time student of Morton Feldman and Pauline Oliveros with whom Gjerstad has played often in a duo format. He’s also performed with avant jazz musicians like William Parker, Derek Bailey, Evan Parker and many other exploratory improvisers, so this looks like a must-see for fans of out there jazz.

Eugene Symphony
October 20
Silva Concert Hall, Hult Center, Eugene.
Danail Rachev leads the orchestra in Gustav Mahler’s tragic 1904 sixth symphony, which seems to contain a whole galaxy of emotions — he’d actually married and celebrated the arrival of two children just before writing the symphony, mostly on a pastoral vacation — before he brings the big hammer down at the end.

Rudresh Mahanthappa
October 20
The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Ave., Portland.
Both NPR and Downbeat magazine declared the saxophonist’s album Bird Calls the top jazz album of 2015, at last freeing Mahanthappa from the shadow of his even more famous sometime collaborator and fellow Indian American jazz master Vijay Iyer. As the album title suggests, Mahanthappa draws heavily on Charlie Parker’s legacy, but this is no retro bop tribute, as it also embraces his many other influences, from pop and funk to hip hop and of course Indian traditional music.

PDX Jazz brings Rudresh Mahanthappa to Portland. Photo: JimmyKatz.

PDX Jazz brings Rudresh Mahanthappa to Portland. Photo: JimmyKatz.

Norah Jones
October 20
Keller Auditorium, 222 SW Clay St.(corner of SW 3rd Ave. & Clay), Portland.
The pop/folk singer, who vaulted to fame thanks to jazz record label Blue Note, leans a little closer to jazz on her newly released Day Breaks album.

Liszt Week 2016
October 19-22
University of Oregon School of Music and Dance, Eugene.
A complete traversal of the composer’s monumental piano cycle Years of Pilgrimage (Années de Pèlerinage Troisième Année), performed by UO piano students and live streamed at 7:30 pm each night. Images depicting the works of art that inspired most of these piano pieces will be projected throughout the recital. UO prof Alexandre Dossin concludes the week of Lisztomania with a recital featuring the big b minor sonata on Oct. 22.

Jeffrey Wood
October 21
First Presbyterian Church, 1200 SW Alder, Portland.
In this free concert, the Lake Grove Presbyterian Church organist plays music by J.S. Bach, Dietrich Buxtehude, and contemporary German composer Hans-André Stamm on the magnificent Jaeckel pipe organ.

Medieval Sensorium
October 21
Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, Eugene.
In this free, historically contextualized lunchtime event, faculty members and graduate students in the University of Oregon School of Music and Dance perform medieval music in a multimedia environment with religious painting, sculptures and other devotional objects.

The Ensemble
October 21, St Luke’s ~ San Lucas Episcopal Church, 426 E 4th Plain Blvd, Vancouver, WA, October 22, Central Lutheran Church, 1857 Potter Street, Eugene, October 23, The Old Church, 1422 SW 11th Avenue, Portland.
A quartet of Portland’s finest classical singers joins a pair of pianists  to perform Brahms’s light-hearted Romantic classic, Love Song Waltzes. Written for amateur musicians, these mega-pop hits of their day made Brahms a star and a lot more money than his symphonies, and remained popular ever since. Better still, the vocal quartet will sing contemporary songs written by Cascadia Composers Lisa Marsh, Theresa Koon and ArtsWatch contributor Jeff Winslow.

Extradition Series
October 22
Leaven Community Center, 5431 NE 20th Ave @ Killingsworth, Portland.
The final concert in the inaugural year of this quarterly Creative Music Guild series features “ quiet, spacious compositions that give substantial freedom to the musicians in determining aspects of the final, performed pieces,” says series creator Matt Hannafin. This one features music by Michael Pisaro (in which, Hannafin says, “each performer plays just two stones, and the whole arrangement is accompanied by a parallel arrangement of 45 time-based cells of ambient “pink noises” created by Pisaro, whose durations match those of the different time-based cells being performed by the percussionists), Audra Wolowiec with Jesse Mejía and CHOIR, (see the semaphore entry below), Antoine Beuger, Derek Ecklund’s “Columbia River Sound Map and Tim Westcott’s “A Land of Falling Waters”.

Colin Currie performs with the Oregon Symphony. Photo: Marco Borggreve.

Colin Currie performs with the Oregon Symphony. Photo: Marco Borggreve.

Oregon Symphony
October 22-24
Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall, Portland.
Read my Willamette Week preview of the orchestra’s performance of contemporary American sounds and a Romantic classic by Richard Strauss, with guest percussionist Colin Currie. Read Kaleb Davies’s ArtsWatch interview with Currie before his appearance with the orchestra last year.

3 Leg Torso, Central Oregon Symphony
October 22-4
Bend High Auditorium, 230 NE 6th St, Bend.
The orchestra plays music by Borodin, Massenet, and of course the guest world chamber ensemble.

Russian String Orchestra
October 23
Beall Concert Hall, 961 E. 18th Ave. University of Oregon.
The ensemble plays Schoenberg’s ultra-intense late Romantic tone poem Transfigured Night and another Romantic standard, Schubert’s string quartet Death and the Maiden, leavening the heaviness with a little Mozart.

Leyla McCalla and Dom Flemmons
October 21, Sam Bond’s Garage, Eugene, October 23, Doug Fir Lounge, Portland.
A pair of former Carolina Chocolate Drops explore American roots music at Sam Bond’s Garage. Dom Flemons plays and sings Piedmont blues, spirituals, and jug band music, while cellist/guitarist/banjoist Leyla McCalla plays and sings original and traditional music from her Haitian heritage as well as the Creole, Cajun, jazz and French influences that still simmer in and around her New Orleans home.

Oct. 23
Lewis Integrative Science Building, University of Oregon.
Multidisciplinary artist Audra Wolowiec leads a performance based on a series of translations that explore the slipperiness of communication and featuring CHOIR, Portland composer/ sound artist Jesse Meija’s experimental vocal group, whose score is based on data from a neuroscience lab.

"semaphore" is performed in Portland and Eugene.

“semaphore” is performed in Portland and Eugene.

Oregon Camerata
October 23
Beall Concert Hall, University of Oregon, 961 E. 18th Ave. Eugene.
The UO ensemble plays 20th century music by Polish composer Withold Lutoslawski, Russia’s Alfred Schnittke, crazy fun Stanford composer Mark Applebaum, and Brazil’s Hector Villa-Lobos.

“Lucia di Lammermoor” (film)
Living Room Theaters, 341 SW 10th Ave. Portland.
Film of the acclaimed recent Barcelona production of Donizetti’s opera.

Andrew Palmer Todd
October 25
Portland Piano Company, 711 SW 14th Ave. Portland.
In a free concert, the pianist plays music by Prokofiev, Schumann and John Adams.

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Want to learn more about contemporary Oregon classical music? Check out Oregon ComposersWatch.

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