Music of Dan Tucker | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Music of Dan Tucker


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Though composing has always been his first love, Dan Tucker made a living as a newspaperman most of his life. In the early 40s, after graduating from the American Conservatory of Music, he got a job in journalism--the occupation of his father and brother--and eventually ended up as an editorialist for the Tribune. Yet he went on pursuing music as an avocation, writing occasional pieces for theater productions and friends. He retired from the Trib in '88, though he still reviews classical concerts, and turned his attention full-time to music. Now in his 70s, he's able to devote himself to his preferred idiom, a thoroughly tonal one derived largely from the Anglo-American school of Britten and Barber. Interest in Tucker's music has been rising lately, and this retrospective is devoted to vocal works from the last decade or so. All of them--from songs set to texts by Federico Garcia Lorca and Nicholas Guillen to choruses and solos inspired by Shakespeare's plays--display the utmost respect for the voice as a melodiously expressive instrument. The four Spanish songs recall Falla and Ravel; the Shakespeare songs suggest William Walton. Most of these original works are meticulously crafted and convey a genuine feel for the nuances of words. Also included is a piano solo, to be performed by Tucker himself, titled Romantic Piece in the Manner of Johannes Brahms. Soprano Teresa Orantes is the featured soloist; David Laub, Carol Liner, Paula Miller, and Jeff Collins are the vocalists in the Shakespeare set. Sunday, 3 PM, Lunar Cabaret and Full Moon Cafe, 2827 N. Lincoln; 327-6666.

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