IU Ballet

Oct. 1st, 2012 09:50 am
kenjari: (piano)
I finally got to one of the IU Ballet performances this Saturday, and it was really good and a little emotional for me.

Sweet Fields - by Twyla Tharp
This piece for about 12 dancers was really nice. It is set to 10 Shaker hymns sung a capella by a mixed chorus. The movements were simple but elegant, and I really liked the whole architecture of the thing - the way the dancers moved across the space and in relation to each other. Sweet Fields has a lot of unity, as several motifs recur throughout the the dance - shaking of hands, certain patterns of moving across the floor, which made for a nice sense of continuity. The simple white costumes and luminous lighting also did a lot to heighten the piece's lovely subtlety.

Eight Easy Pieces - by Peter Martins
This piece for three ballerinas, set to piano music by Stravinsky was well-performed but didn't do very much for me. The choreography seemed kind of over sweet and almost insipid. While Martins was trying for some understated humor, that did not really come through.

Eight More - by Peter Martins
This ballet for three male dancers is a companion piece to Eight Easy Pieces, and uses an orchestrated version of the same music. I like this one better, since Martins got the humor just right here. The three dancers did a great job with it, too.

Appalachian Spring - by Martha Graham
This was the piece I had really come to see. Graham is a (if not the) giant of modern dance, and this is one of her most significant pieces. It's a wonderful depiction of early America as represented by a husband and bride, a pioneer women, a revivalist, and his four followers. The movements are sometimes stark, sometimes achingly lyrical. There's a hint of a story, but nothing explicit - it's more about evocation than narrative. Copland's well-known music takes on a rather different aspect and meaning when heard with the dancing. In other contexts, it can seem a little cliched these days, but here, with Graham's choreography, it sounds fresh, new, and challenging.
It was a little bittersweet to be finally seeing this piece, but not with Y and E or any of the other people I was close to at the dance division. The performers were strangers, too. I admit I got a little teary. I miss them.
kenjari: (piano)
Last week Other Kenjari and I went to IU's production of Mozart's Don Giovanni, and it was very good. I had quibbles with some of the staging decisions, but the singing and playing were terrific, and there was a lot to like about other aspects of the production, too.
First, the quibbles. I thought a lot of the staging decisions were unsympathetic to the female characters. Donna Elvira was portrayed as completely melting at any morsel of positive attention Don Giovanni gave here, which took some of the force from her anger. Yes, her feelings about and for him are somewhat ambivalent, but that doesn't mean her anger over his betrayal and abandonment aren't legitimate and important (to both her as a character and to the narrative itself). Worst was that the action put on stage during the overture seemed to be aiming* to cast some doubt on the nature of what happened in Donna Anna's bedroom: Donna Anna waffles between unwilling, coy, and willing in her response to a masked and disguised Don Giovanni. This is especially troubling since the libretto and the later music are pretty clear that what happened was attempted rape: when Leporello declares it so in the first scene, Don Giovanni does not contradict him; and when Donna Anna describes what happened as such, not only does Don Ottavio rightly believe her, the music for her aria supports the truth of her account. Other productions I have seen leave this entirely off-stage (as does the libretto), and I prefer it that way.
ON the other hand, the production was overall very attractive. The use of large mirrors at the back of the stage produced some nice effects, especially for the outdoor scenes and Don Giovanni's villa. The costumes were really beautiful. The final scene, where the Commendatore's statue arrives and consigns Don Giovanni to hell was nicely done. As the stage was inundated with fog, he rode in on horse prop/statue that is slides across the stage on a small track. The horse's glowing red eyes were a nice touch. It was quite thrilling despite the simplicity of the effects. It's one of the marks of Mozart's genius that you really don't need much in the way of complex stagecraft or effects for this scene, because almost all of it is already there in the music.
The performances were wonderful. I really liked Zachary Coates' Don Giovanni - physically, he was reminiscent of Edward Norton in The Illusionist, and he had just the right voice for the part. Over the course of the opera, Don Giovanni becomes increasingly dissolute and callous, and Coates handled this quite well. Jason Eck's Leporello was a great partner and foil to Coates, too. Eck was great at the physical comedy and the snappy wit of the part. He did a great job with the Catalog Aria, and with all the ensemble pieces. I loved Kelly Glyptis' Donna Elvira - she captured the force of the character well. And even though I did not agree with the directorial choices regarding her meltiness over Don Giovanni, Glyptis did carry it off well. Rainelle Krrause, who sang Zerlina, did a beautiful job, too.
Don Giovanni is one of my favorite operas, and getting to see it live was a real treat. I was reminded of all the ways in which it is a near-perfect opera - great arias, comedy, romance, tragedy, and wonderful ensembles. Especially the latter - there is everything from duets to septets, and they are all amazing. I hope I get many more chances to see it.

*I say "seem to be aiming" because the staging did have elements of ambiguity, and was not always clear in what it was suggesting.
kenjari: (piano)
Sorry for the short notice, but I've been so busy with work (mostly on this performance) that I didn't have a lot of time or energy to promote it. I am the assistant producer, and, if I do say so myself, it's going to be a beautiful concert.

The Boston Conservatory presents Celebrating Anna
Feb. 18-20 8pm
Feb. 21 2pm

In honor of Anna Sokolow’s centennial, The Boston Conservatory Dance Department presents her dramatic works From the Diaries of Franz Kafka and Rooms, staged by alumnus Jim May. The program also includes a premiere of a new work by Viktor Plotnikov.
Midway Studios , $22/$20/$12/$7
Directions and tickets.

If anyone wants to come, I have one free ticket left, and can purchase additional tickets for folks at the $7 student and staff price. Comment here or e-mail me.
kenjari: (piano)
As Some of you know, a big part of my job is being the assistant producer for the two mainstage dance concerts each year. The fall semester's concert is coming up, and I think it's going to be very good and very interesting.

DANCE: The Boston Conservatory Dance Theater

A Time For Dance

November 5-7, 2009
8:00 PM
November 8, 2009
2:00 PM
Location: Midway Studios

DANCE: The Boston Conservatory Dance Theater
Three premieres by Gianni Di Marco, Bonnie Mathis and Mary Wolff and excerpts from Jose Limon's There is a Time , staged by Jennifer Scanlon and Libby Nye.
Midway Studios, $22/$20/$12/$7

Tickets are going fast. You can buy them via the Boston Conservatory Box Office. If you're having trouble getting tickets and really want to go, let me know, I might be able to help out.
kenjari: (piano)
The Singer's Voice benefit concert, October 3rd

This was an absolutely delightful concert. But how could it not be, with a bunch of Boston's best singers all singing together?
I was also pleased that the programming a a bit off the beaten path - I heard a lot of music that I had been previously unaware of. There were only a couple of pieces I didn't like. I thought Parry's "I Was Glad When They Said Unto Me" was a good example of late Romantic bombast and excess. Luckily, it was followed by Durufle's gorgeous and subtle "Ubi Caritas". I also thought Coleridge-Taylor's "The Lee Shore" was very bland; but I guess that's why he's known primarily as a poet.
I really liked Puccini's Agnus Dei. It was 19th century sacred choral music done absolutely right. Plus, the soloists, Michael Calmes and David Kravitz, were so good they gave me shivers. My favorite piece on the program was Vaughn Williams' "Serenade to Music". The text is from Shakespeare and the setting truly captured all the magic and romance of the words. It reminded me very strongly of Philip Glass' opera La Belle et La Bete - I wonder if the serenade was part of Glass' inspiration. The solos were all great, especially [livejournal.com profile] pantsie's; it's no surprise that she fits right in with the pros. I especially liked the way that distance from and sight lines to the stage made it hard to see who was singing each solo, which made them appropriately mysterious.
kenjari: (piano)
August 9th and 10th (written on the 10th) )
kenjari: (piano)
Saturday, August 8 (written on the 9th) )
kenjari: (piano)
On sunday afternoon I ventured into dorchester to see the Boston Opera Collaborative's production of Carmen, of which [livejournal.com profile] wavyarms was the assistant musical director.. I had not seen the opera in its entirety in many, many years, although I am, of course, quite familiar with the music.
Unfortunately, I got a little lost due to the contruction going on in the area, so I missed the overture. But the rest of the performance was quite good. They'd set the story in teh 1920s or 30s rather than the 19th century, which worked very well and allowed for elegantly simple costuming and staging. The singing was good. I thought the tenor singing Don Jose was especially good.
kenjari: (piano)
Last night I went to Guerilla Opera's premier of Marti Epstein's one-act chamber opera Rumpelstiltzkin. It was amazing, and I would highly recommend going to the final performance at 8pm tomorrow night at Boston Conservatory.
Ms. Epstein wrote her own libretto, and did a very good job of it. In the program notes she stated that her aim was to explore and explain the motivations of the characters in the story. Her version of the tale does all that and brings in some surprises, too. The end result is a tale that is both more interesting and more meaningful (and also a bit more disturbing).
Rumpelstiltzkin is scored for soprano (Rumpelstiltzkin), mezzo (Gretchen), countertenor (Miller), and baritone (king), violin, cello, saxophone, and percussion. I'm not quite sure whether or not I liked having the Miller be such a high voice, but since both the music and Matthew Truss' performance were so good, it wasn't a real detractor. The music itself was very beautiful. It was haunting and at times almost delicate. The use of pitched percussion against the high voices was particularly lovely.
Aliana de la Guardia was amazing as Rumpelstiltzkin. She has a gorgeous voice, with none of the hardness or shrillness I sometimes hear in sopranos. And her acting abilities are very impressive - she gave her character a set of strange mannerisms and tics that really worked as a way of illustrating his status as a lonely and magical creature outside the bounds of society. Leslie Leytham was also wonderful as Gretchen.


May. 25th, 2009 02:55 pm
kenjari: (piano)
On Friday, I went to the final BMOP concert of the season. It was also the last event with their current composer-in-residence, Lisa Bielawa, whose music I have really enjoyed hearing these past three years.

Shock Diamonds - Geoffrey Gordon
I found this piece quite elusive to my ears. Mostly, it reminded me of the work of Earl Brown. Except for a part near the end that sounded very much like the "Danse des Adolescents" from Stravinsky's Rite of Spring.

Kick & Ride - Eric Moe
This piece for orchestra and drum set was pretty awesome. Unfortunately,there were some moments of aimlessness (mostly in the first movement). The best moments of the piece displayed a canny adaptation of jazz and rock elements to an orchestral medium. And Robert Schulz, the soloist, was incredible.

A Summer's Day - Lewis Spratlan
This programmatic piece had a wonderful surprise beginning, and then proceeded through a series of varied and evocative section. Overall it was inventive and fun. Plus, it featured the use of a basketball as a percussion instrument.

"..bisbigliando..." - Thomas Oboe Lee
This harp concerto was very neo-Romantic, in a late 19th century vein. It's not my favorite aesthetic, but this piece was rather attractive. The first movement was sprightly and tuneful, the second lush and soulful, and the third sprightly and driving.

In medias res, Concerto For orchestra - Lisa Bielawa
This two movement piece beautifully exploited contrasts between the full orchestra and smaller groups. It also contained a lot of truly delicious dissonances. The piece also reflected its title very well, giving the impression of weaving together of gestures and phrases that sounded like those found in the developmental or climactic sections.
kenjari: (piano)
Last Friday, I attended Juventas' presentation of two new one-act operas. It was a really interesting and beautiful evening.

The Hourglass - Matthew Vest
This opera was based on a novel by Danilo Kis that fictionalizes his father's experiences and fate in Yugoslavia during WWII. The music itself was very attractive. The staging and content appeared to be fascinatingly symbolic and surreal. However, the singer's lines overlapped into such dense polyphony that in the text was utterly obscured. That really put a damper on the experience for me. I couldn't tell what was going on, what the four singer's relationships were to each other, or what any of the staging's striking images meant. It left me wondering what was the point of staging the piece as opposed to letting it be a concert work. Without any ability to figure out anything about the action, relationships, or meanings, I was unsure what the staging was really adding.

The Year of the Serpent - Erin Huelskamp
I really loved this opera, which was based on a Chinese legend and belonged firmly in the classic kung fu genre. It was witty and stylish. I truly enjoyed the eclectic styles that made up the music (which was just plain great), and Huelskamp made them all work together seamlessly. The costumes were wonderfully over the top, and the staging was relatively simple, which made it work very well.
kenjari: (piano)
Other Kenjari and I went to Opera Boston's production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride. It was delightful. The action had been transplanted from 1860s Bohemia to 1934 Spillville, Iowa. The town has just opened a new brewery, and Marenka and Jenik are dreaming of marrying and building a life together on a farm. Marenka's parents have other marriage plans for her, however, causing Marenka and Jenik to engage in separate schemes to thwart these other plans.
The opera is a clever and tuneful romantic comedy. The performances were overall quite good, although I thought that Dunka Pechstein (Ludmila) and Danute Mileika (Hata) lacked sufficient vocal power compared to the other singers. Jennifer Aylmer as Marenka and Patrick Miller as Jenik were both very good. The latter reminded us a lot of [livejournal.com profile] viking_cat. This production also included some very fine dancing as choreographed by Danny Pelzig and performed by dancers from The Boston Conservatory.
kenjari: (piano)
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater )

Boston Cecilia )
kenjari: (piano)
I am planning to go see Opera Boston's production of Smetana's The Bartered Bride at the Cutler Majestic (in Boston's Theater District, near Chinatown). Does anyone want to join me?
Performances are:
Fri.May.1 7:30PM
Sun.May.3 3:00PM
Tue.May.5 7:30PM

I can go to any of the three performances Sunday or Tuesday. Tickets are $30-$35, and I can pick them up after work this week. Comment, e-mail, or call if you'd like to join me.

ETA: I forgot about the Cecilia concert, which eliminates Friday's performance.
kenjari: (Default)
Nederlands Dance Theater II, April 17

NDT II is an amazing group of dancers. This performance was very beautiful.

Said and Done - Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon; music: selections from Bach.
This piece started out with an incredible solo, followed by some beautiful ensemble work and partnering. However, I really didn't get the point of the male dancer alone at the extreme left of the stage with feathers falling down on him during the second half of the piece. It didn't fit well with the partnering going on at the other end of the stage, and seemed rather self-conscious.

Sleepless - Choroegraphed by Jiri Kylian; music by Dirk Haubrich
This was the best piece on the program. The electronic music by Haubrich worked perfectly with the choreography, which was wonderful. The piece also made good use of a backdrop of white screens which allowed the dancers to make entrances and exits through the slits between the screens and to project shadows onto them. I really love Kylian's partnering, and this work had plenty of it.

Shutters Shut - Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon; music: a Gertrude Stein poem
Upon reading the program, I'd been very skeptical about how a dance to spoken word might work. Luckily, Stein's poetry lends itself quite well to movement because her work is primarily about rhythm and patterns. The dance used repetition and development in a clever and witty way that aligned well with the poetry.

Sad Case - Choreographed by Paul Lightfoot and Sol Leon; music: Perez Prado, Domingues, E. Lecuona, Ray Baretto, Los Tres Panchos.
This piece was light-hearted and fun, but a little insubstantial. While I enjoyed seeing it, it didn't leave much of a lasting impression.
kenjari: (piano)
I will be performing my own music in a SWAN Day concert next Sunday. Hope to see you there!

FOR INFORMATION CALL EVA KENDRICK 774-526-5093; evakendrick@comcast.net
WHAT: SWAN (Support Women Artists Now) Day Composers Festival
WHO: Concert featuring eight young, female Boston composers, followed by open dialogue with the artists and a reception.
WHEN: Sunday, March 29, 2009. 6:30 p.m. (sound installation), concert program begins at 7 p.m.
WHERE: Allen Hall, Community Music Center of Boston, 34 Warren Ave. Boston, MA 02116.
WHY: To celebrate, promote, and support the work of local/regional women artists
HOW MUCH: $15/adults, $10/seniors, students, FREE for the CMCB community.
INFORMATION: 774-526-5093
SPECIAL NOTE: The venue has a handicapped accessible entrance on the Tremont side of the street, in the Calderwood Pavillion.

SWAN Day Women's Composers Festival to Premiere at Allen Hall

SWAN Day (Support Women Artists Now) is an international holiday celebrating female artists and their achievements. SWAN Day, which is held on the last weekend of Women's History Month, is enjoying its second year. Last year, more than 160 events were held in 11 countries. The SWAN Day Composers Festival, co-sponsored by the Community Music Center of Boston, is an evening of new music by eight young female composers. The featured composers are Liza White, Erin Huelskamp, Eva Kendrick, Ivana Lisak, Laura Macias, Carol Lubowski, E. Reed Ferenbaugh and Liz Erickson. There will also be a special pre-concert sound installation when the doors open at 6:30 by the multimedia artist Lovers v. Haters.

The program will feature a wide range of styles and influences. Kendrick’s chamber piece, Disir, for female voices, folk harp and cello, is based on the Norse Poetic Edda with improvised harp interludes by E. Reed Ferenbaugh. Laura Macias, a Mexican American composer, will present a song cycle set to poems by the Mexican poet Rosario Castellano. Liza White’s Babylon for trumpet and percussion is based on hip-hop beats. Carol Lubowski wrote and will perform Full Moon Waltz, based on classical Romantic themes, and in contrast, Liz Erickson will perform short atonal pieces for cello. Croatian-born composer Ivana Lisak will present "Remember," set to a poem by Christina Georgina Rossetti, for soprano, clarinet and piano, and Erin Huelskamp's work "Two Poems by Adrienne Rich," deals with contemporary lesbian issues. Each of the composers will introduce their pieces, and after the concert, there will be an open dialogue with the composers, performers and audience.

Performers include many faces familiar to the classical music audiences: Melissa Grieco, clarinet; Inja Davidovic, piano; Julia Scott Carey, piano; Geoffrey Shamu, trumpet; Sarah Dunn, soprano; Emily Culler, soprano; Sarah Long Holland, soprano; Natalie Markward, soprano; Julie Carew cello; Elaine Rombola, piano, and more.

The composers all attended Boston conservatories and universities, most are performers as well, and many work within the Boston schools. Ivana Lisak is newly on the music faculty at the Berklee School of Music; Kendrick and White both are on the faculty at the Community Music Center of Boston (White also teaches at Temple Ohabei Shalom); and Macias teaches at ZUMIX and the Edward Devotion School. Many are self-starters as well in the Boston new music scene. Huelskamp is the co-founder and executive director of the acclaimed Juventas New Music Ensemble, and White is the co-creator of Embryonic NOISE!, an adventurous new music ensemble equally at home in residence at New England Conservatory or a local bar. Ferenbaugh sings with the Bulgarian choral group Divi Zheni and is in a folk band, Anne's Cordial, with Kendrick. Lovers v. Haters is a multi-media artist whose work lies at the crossroads between performance, video sculpture, sound design, and networked art objects.

The concert and open dialogue will be followed by a wine and cheese reception. $15/adults, $10/students, seniors, FREE to the CMCB community. Cash and checks only. There is a handicapped accessible entrance on the Tremont side of the street in the Calderwood Pavillion.
kenjari: (Default)
On Thursday night, I saw the Mark Morris Dance Group, and I have to say, I was not impressed. He has a reputation as a musical choreographer, but, as a musician, I have to disagree. All he does is fallow the melody/foreground. There's no deeper engagement with the music - he's just following along, not adding or interpreting anything. I did think that the choreography itself, the movement, weren't bad at all - I might have liked them better if they had been paired with different music. Morris works in some folk-dancing inspired material that I thought worked well, and the dances had a certain amount of lightness and charm at times.

Bedtime - to Schubert Lieder
I liked the second section the best, because of the use of folk elements. Unfortunately, the third section was a too-literal response to the music "Erlkonig".

All Fours - to Bartok's String Quartet No. 4
This piece was the least interesting to me, precisely because I know and love the music so very well. I kept thinking tow things: I already know how the piece goes Mr. Morris, and Does he get this music? The section to the slow movement with the cello solo almost achieved some interesting engagement with the music, but never made it all the way there.

V - to Schumann's Quintet in E-flat Major, OP. 44
Of the three dances, I liked this one the best. While it still followed the foreground and melody of the music, it contained tantalizing hints at a deeper engagement. And it made even better use of folk-style elements than the first piece did.
kenjari: (piano)
On Monday night I saw the Silk Road Ensemble with Yo-Yo Ma at Symphony Hall. It was an amazing concert. The Silk Road Ensemble is a global group of Western European, Asian, Southeast Asian, Middle Eastern, and Latin American musicians. They perform both traditional music from around the world and pieces newly written for the ensemble.It was also fun to see Yo-Yo Ma playing as part of a larger ensemble rather than as a headlining soloist.

Ritmos Anchinos - Gabriela Lena Frank
This piece was probably the most modernistic on the program. It combined Peruvian material with Chinese instruments in a very natural way. Frank's use of rhythm was particularly appealing.

Sulvasutra - Evan Ziporyn
Yup, I still love Ziporyn's music. This piece was for tabla and ensemble, and it was really good. Ziporyn made use of the full range of what the tabla can do, without once making it sound cliched or like a laundry list of techniques.

Turceasca - Sapo Perapaskero, arr. Osvaldo Golijov/Ljova
This piece came very close to rocking out with its impassioned melodies and driving rhtyhms,

Layla and Majnun - Uzeyir Hajibeyov, arr. Jonathan Gandelsman
This Azerbaijani chamber opera for two singers and ensemble was written in 1908. It is based on a classic Arabian love story that has some similarity to Romeo and Juliet. The work incorporates mugham, a complex form of modal music for singers with accompaniment. At this performance, the roles were sung by Alim Qasimov and his daughter Fargana Qasimova, the pre-eminent performers of mugham today in Azerbaijan.
This piece blew me away. The singing was incredible - it sounded similar to Indian singing and Qawwali, with gorgeously intricate ornamentation. The instrumental accompaniment was lovely and never intrusive. I really felt like I was spirited away to another world while listening to this work. It was like having a wonderful and vivid dream from which you are reluctant to awake.
kenjari: (piano)
I've been going to as many of the Juventas concerts as I can, because I usually know at least one of the people involved. unfortunately, I was really tired when I went to this concert, so my comments are shorter and less incisive than usual.

Cerulean Soliloquy - Anthony Lanman
I know Anthony Lanman from the 2005 Oregon Bach Festival Composers Symposium. I remember being extremely impressed with his music then, and this piece for flute and piano only maintained that opinion. The music had glitter and drive and, especially in the beginning, happily reminded me of Steve Reich's "Eight Lines".

Un-Now - Vera Ivanova
This piece for solo soprano was jagged and surreal. The singer, Chelsea Beatty, was amazing and I think her performance resulted in my liking the piece more than I otherwise might have.

Dayspring - Delvyn Case
For clarinet and piano, this sonorous piece flirted with Romanticism. I thought it was strongest in its stillest sections.

Introduction and Barrage - Marcus Maroney
The introduction movmenet of this trio was very refined and a little bit dull. The barrage, however, was great. It was driving and dance-like in a way that reminded me a lot of Bartok.

Amazing Effort Crystallized - Christian Gentry
This piece for soprano, violin, cello, and piano, was the kind of noisy, dense modernism that I was just too tired to properly appreciate. I did like the ending a lot because it was very scaled back, almost serrene.

Illuminated by the Light of Two Ships Passing in the Night - Oliver Caplan
This trio had a lovely open and warm sound, and was very melodic. Perhaps it wasn't the most innovative ot edgy piece on the program, but it was attractive and tuneful.

L'image Reconstitutee - Mei-fang Lin
This piece for flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and piano followed the aesthetic of old-fashioned modernism, the kind that has an active rhythm that borders on busyness. However, this piece also had a terrific sensiibility for timbre and texture.
kenjari: (piano)
Yesterday I went to cellist Rhonda Rider's concert on the Boston Conservatory String Masters Series. It was terrific - Rider is an amazing cellist.

Sonata for Viola da Gamba and Harpsichord in D Major, BWV 1028 - J. S. Bach
Bach writes so beautifully for stringed and keyboard instruments. Bach played expertly on cello and piano is a recipe for bliss.

Abu Ghraib - John Harbison
Harbison states in his program notes that this piece for cello and piano is neither a protest nor a moral lesson. Instead it seeks music in a moment when words can fail. I think his comments were very apt. The piece is in two movements. Each movement alternated and then combined disturbing, violent, and dissonant passages with yearningly lyrical material. The result was arresting and challenging while still surprisingly beautiful.

Curve with Plateaux - Jonathan Harvey
I had the pleasure of hearing Rider play this solo cello piece while I was a graduate student at Boston conservatory. I was amazed then amd am still in awe. "Curve with Plateaux" uses the whole range of playable notes on the cello and almost the whole gamut of what the cello can do in terms of playing techniques. Because of the simple and clear structure of the piece, maintains shape and elegance throughout.

Sonata for Cello and Piano in g minor, Op. 117 - Gabriel Faure
This piece was pretty typical turn of the previous century stuff, but lovely and charming. I was particularly enamored of the gorgeous Andante, which had a perfect balance of light and dark.

Different Trains - Steve Reich
This piece for string quartet and pre-recorded performance tape is one of my favorites - I never get tired of hearing it either live or on CD. Live is always such an exciting experience, because in many ways the piece sounds much more raw and experimental. On CD, the blend of live and tape is almost too smooth and seamless. Live, the difference between the instruments and the recording is much more audible, which brings out entirely new and unexpected aspects of the work. This particular performance brought out the way the combination of sustained notes on the strings with the recorded sirens and train whistles could sound like a scream. it gave the middle section quite an emotional punch.