Anthony Burr | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Of Helmut Leichenmann's solo clarinet piece Dal niente (1970), Anthony Burr explains that "it reveals the means of production. Rather than in playing classical music generally, where you try to pretend that you're doing anything other than actually playing the clarinet, this is about playing the clarinet." Listening to the piece, one is confronted with sounds that assert themselves in between the actual notes: breaths, the clicking of the clarinet's keys, and so on. We're asked to abandon some of our expectations concerning Western classical music and actually listen to what's happening--which doesn't always come easily, especially to those of us with attention spans stunted in early adolescence by TV and pop music (I for one will admit that my mind occasionally wanders). But it's important not to give up, to keep looking for new doorways into this stuff. Burr, a young clarinetist from Brisbane, Australia, here offers an almost-solo recital of pieces which, while incorporating many of the more recent innovations in composition (the oldest piece on the program, Giacinto Scelsi's Suite for Clarinet and Flute, dates only from 1953), nonetheless directly connects to centuries of European musical tradition. Burr's selections afford a chance to hear the differing approaches of several modern composers in dealing with the limitations of a single-line melody instrument; the result is a program of surprising textural variety. Burr rips through this music with the kind of restless energy usually associated with a rock-and-roll guitarist. Monday, 8 PM, concert hall, DePaul University, 800 W. Belden; 362-8373.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Sara Sipes.

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