Claire Chase premieres a Marcos Balter work inspired by Cy Twombly | Bleader

Claire Chase premieres a Marcos Balter work inspired by Cy Twombly


Sign up for our newsletters Subscribe


Claire Chase
  • Claire Chase
In March extraordinary flutist Claire Chase, founder and director of International Contemporary Ensemble, will release her second collection of solo performances, Terrestre (New Focus). I was a huge fan of her 2009 debut, Aliento, and the new one looks equally tantalizing, with works by Kaija Saariaho, Franco Donatoni, Pierre Boulez, Elliott Carter, and Dai Fujikura (who wrote his piece, Glacier, specifically for Chase). Yet the energetic flutist is already on to the next thing, and this Friday evening she'll give a free concert at the Art Institute's Fullerton Hall with a totally different program.

The focal point of tomorrow's concert is the world premiere of Descent From Parnassus by Chicago-based, Brazilian-bred composer Marcos Balter—it's a commission by the museum, inspired by the Cy Twombly painting "Return From Parnassus." The program also includes works by Xenakis, Reich, and Takemitsu, and for those pieces Chase will be joined by percussionist Svet Stoyanov. Earlier this week on the ICE blog Chase explained the challenges of Balter's new work:

Marcos [Balter] asks me to recite a Dante text into the instrument, over the instrument, through the instrument, sometimes in conjunction with difficult played passages (a physically impossible act, but the effort to achieve it produces fascinating results), and other times in rapid succession with flute notes, creating a contrapuntal texture. There is nowhere to breathe, so I've chosen to inhale certain spoken or sung pitches instead of exhaling them, so as to eliminate any break between the lines—this sounds really cool, but the act dramatically increases your chances of literally choking. So, the piece requires some choking-management techniques. I might hang a Health Dept poster up in the hall with instructions on back blows and abdominal thrusts, just in case.

Today's playlist:

Milton Nascimento, Anima (Verve)
Nat Adderley, Sayin' Somethin' (Atlantic)
Spencer Wiggins, The Goldwax Years (Kent)
Mark Fell, Multistability (Raster-Noton)
Lars Gullin, Portrait of My Pals (Capitol, Sweden)

Add a comment