The Contemporary Chamber Players enter their fourth decade without the sure-handed guidance of founding director Ralph Shapey, who retired last year. Under the redoubtable Shapey, this estimable new-music ensemble embraced eclecticism, showcasing with conviction established works and the latest trends, especially those certified by academia. What's next? At least for now, the programming and performers remain pretty much the same. Harvey Sollberger, the well-known flutist and composer based at the University of California at San Diego, is the guest maestro in this survey of pieces written in the post decade by experimentalists who are over 50. Sandra Sprecher, a Sollberger protege and the only woman in the survey, is represented by her 1992 White Plaid, described as "angular lines of 'whiteness' emerging from a dark background." A pair of miniatures by august European avant-gardists is also on the program: Pierre Boulez's Derive (1984) and Franco Donatoni's ephemeral Arpege (1986), which consists of permutations of seven-note chords. The two major works--in length if not substance--are Mutterings (1988) by Joji Yuasa, the self-taught Japanese composer who's Sollberger's colleague at San Diego, and the conductor's own The Advancing Moment. The Yuasa work, scored for mezzo-soprano (Constance Beavon) and based on text from R.D. Laing's psychoanalytic writings, depicts five aspects of love. Sollberger's latest composition, prompted by images of Baghdad and Sarajevo, is perhaps the first serious musical statement about the gulf war and the war in the former Yugoslavia. Friday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th. 702-8068.
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Frank Ward.