Contemporary Chamber Players | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Contemporary Chamber Players

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When American music patriarch Chicagoan Paul Fromm passed away some 18 months ago, he left a provision in his will that the annual free spring concert bearing his name would continue. This year's Fromm Concert is also the 25th anniversary of Ralph Shapey's Contemporary Chamber Players, who, as always, will be the centerpiece performers for the concert; soprano Elsa Charlston and saxophonist Cynthia Sykes will be featured soloists. Included on the program is Varese's early masterpiece, the colorful Octandre, which emphasizes continual shifting of combinations of instruments and extreme registers. Elliott Carter will be represented by his A Mirror on Which to Dwell, a fascinating exploration of the worlds of sound and prose, the music literally "mirroring" the poetry of Elizabeth Bishop. John Anthony Lennon's Sewn Translations, one of the last Fromm Music Foundation works commissioned during Fromm's lifetime--its last movement is dedicated to his memory--will receive its world premiere. Shapey himself will be heard in a composition from 1987 that is receiving its Chicago premiere: Concertante No. II for Alto Saxophone and Fourteen Players is a theme-and-variations exploitation of the extreme high range of alto saxophone, demanding wide intervallic jumps that are performed bel canto style. Shapey will be conducting, his only appearance during this anniversary season. Tonight, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 5706 S. University; 702-8068.

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

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