Cube | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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M. William Karlins, Robert Lombardo, and Alan Stout have at least a few things in common: they're all well-established local composers about to turn 60. This joint birthday salute by the chamber collective Cube may shed some light on their other attributes. Karlins and Stout, who've been colleagues at Northwestern University for more than a quarter-century, can be called mild atonalists--adroit at loosely exploiting the 12-tone system and unusual instrumentation for lyrical effect. Karlins is represented here by Introduction and Passacaglia for Two Saxophones and Piano (1990), Stout by a pair of duets from the late 60s. The lesser-known Lombardo, a fixture at Roosevelt University for almost as long, espouses a more eclectic, pop-culture style. His vocal writings of late seem influenced by Rorem and Del Tredici--in Overture, Aria, and Tango the soprano recites the recipe for an Italian red sauce to the beat of a tango--and his Contrasti a due for mandolin and marimba continues a longtime infatuation with exotic percussion sounds. Rounding out the hefty program are works commissioned by Cube that are deliberately referential to the three composers! styles, by Sheldon Atovsky (for Stout), John Austin (Lombardo), and Janice Misurell-Mitchell (Karlins). Carol Loverde, William Cernota, Paul Bro, and J. Lawrie Bloom are some of the guest instrumentalists and fellow celebrants. Thursday, 7:30 PM, Arts Club of Chicago, 109 E. Ontario; 667-0576.

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