Fifth House Ensemble | Museum of Contemporary Art | Classical | Chicago Reader

Fifth House Ensemble Recommended All Ages Soundboard

When: Sat., March 9, 7:30 p.m. 2013

Fifth House Ensemble has created a niche for itself in Chicago’s exploding new-music scene partly by using what you might call “concept concerts” to attract new listeners to its daring contemporary programs. A few years ago I caught Fifth House’s performance of Messiaen’s Quartet for the End of Time at the Adler Planetarium, where the group was accompanied by star-field projections and historical images of astronomers and celestial maps; the ongoing In Transit series uses social-media profiles of imaginary characters to create narratives in real-time during performances. Tonight’s program features three works loosely inspired by real-life stories: John Zorn’s The Temptation of St. Anthony, which gets its world premiere tonight, includes the composer’s meditations on the ascetic monk of its title. Caleb Burhans’s Excelsior tells the story of Colonel Joseph Kittinger’s famous 1960 skydive from 102,800 feet; the composer and violinst will perform it himself in his regular duo with singer and guitarist Grey McMurray, Itsnotyouitsme, joined by soprano Martha Culver. The final work, Shostakovich’s infrequently performed String Quartet No. 9 in E Flat (1964), is dedicated to his third wife, Irina Antonovna, and evokes his strained and turbulent relationship with the Soviet regime; dynamic and brooding, it’s marked by bursts of bright energy and seething anger. —Peter Margasak

Price: $28, $22 members, $10 students

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