Two samples from America and two from Europe are on the roster this week as The Brothers investigate that most wily of musical forms—the chamber concerto. The inherent problems in writing any concerto are manifold—the composer must pit an individual against a crowd of musicians, allowing the two elements to react, relate, and respond to each other, all while considering crucial questions of balance and instrumental color.
Some composers see a concerto as a kind of public argument—the struggle of an individual to voice an opinion against a harsh, opposing body of voices. One may be able to see such a viewpoint in Charles Wuorinen's Archaeopteryx, featuring the bass trombone, an abstract but invigorating work. Opposition is also at the heart of Brian Ferneyhough's La Chute D'Icare, but with a narrative twist that brings the Ovid legend of Icarus to light.
More conciliatory is Ezra Sims's Concertpiece for two clarinets and orchestra, in which the two protagonists weave sinewy microtonal lines around each other. Beat Furrer's Nuun goes even further—the solo piano is almost seamlessly intergrated into the ensemble.
It's about to get KRAZY in here. Krazy like a Koncerto.