Cube | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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In many ways this multifarious concert encapsulates the performance ethos of Cube, one of the city's leading new-music presenters. Titled "American Experimentalism: Ives to Oliveros," it surveys and celebrates the results of diverse impulses and influences that have shaped the musical vanguard in this country since the turn of the century. Not surprisingly, chamber music--because of its economy, versatility, and intimacy--remains the chief medium for the experimental spirit. The "roots" portion of the program features prominent pioneers, including, of course, Charles Ives with his clever polytonal variations on familiar anthems. Among the wide array of innovative techniques and mold-breaking ideas on the bill are the use of tone clusters (Henry Cowell's 1922 Encores to "Dynamic Motion"); political protest (Ruth Crawford Seeger's 1933 Two Ricercari: Sacco, Vanzetti and Chinaman, Laundryman); chance, silence, and the gleeful abandonment of formal structures (pieces by John Cage from the 50s, his intellectual heyday); an early example of graphic notation (Earle Brown's December 1952); pop culture (Cathy Berberian's 1966 Stripsody, which draws on words and images from comic strips); electronic synthesizer (Songs for R.P.B., written in 1964 by the University of Chicago's John Eaton); interest in "consciousness studies" (Pauline Oliveros's 1974 Sonic Meditations); and audience participation (Cage's 4'33" and Oliveros's Telepathic Meditation). Performers include Cube regulars Janice Misurell-Mitchell (flute and voice), Patricia Morehead (oboe), and Jeffrey Kust (guitar and voice) along with guests Isabelle Ganz (mezzo-soprano), Sebastian Huydts (piano), and Frank Abbinanti (trombone). Sunday, 8 PM, Curtiss Hall, Fine Arts Building, 410 S. Michigan; 939-3380 or 667-5176.

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