John Bruce Yeh | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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John Bruce Yeh

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It would be wonderful to hear CSO assistant principal clarinetist John Bruce Yeh give a recital anytime, but when he performs a work as daring and adventurous as Pierre Boulez's 1985 Dialogue de l'ombre double for solo clarinet and tape, it becomes a must hear. Those who were lucky enough to attend the packed 1986 Alain Damiens performance of the work at Northwestern University--a prologue to the Boulez-led Repons that evening--will remember the extraordinary aural color and texture that mark this unusual piece. It involves nine loudspeakers: six surround the audience, two are attached under a pedal-depressed piano, and one is offstage. The cumulative effect is a fascinating exercise in spatialization, with music swirling around the audience in three-dimensional waves of sound. The technology for this piece comes from Boulez's experimental Paris laboratory known as IRCAM, which coincidentally, Yeh visited during the CSO's recent European tour; Yeh's reading is the first anywhere that is not an IRCAM-sponsored event. For variety, or perhaps sanity, Yeh will also interpret two Brahms sonatas with pianist Tamara Orlovsky: a clarinet transcription of the A Major Violin Sonata and the Clarinet Sonata no. 2. Sunday, 7:30 PM, auditorium, Downers Grove North High School, 4436 Main, Downers Grove; 969-2069, 964-1855, or 963-3347.

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