by Mike Telin
The avant-garde flutist Carlton Vickers last played in here in March of 2013. “I’m looking forward to being back in Cleveland — I’ll be stepping things up a bit this time,” he said during a telephone conversation. Vickers, who specializes in the most demanding works of the contemporary and electro-acoustic repertoire, will give two concerts as part of NEOSonicFest. Vickers’ appearances, once again presented by the Cleveland-based new music ensemble No Exit, are scheduled for March 4 at SPACES Gallery and March 5 at Heights Arts. His program for both performances will include music by Jason Eckardt, Marc Yeats, James Erber, and Brian Ferneyhough.
“No Exit is pleased to be bringing Carlton Vickers back to town, this time as a one-man show,” Timothy Beyer, No Exit’s artist director said in an email. “As you know, Carlton is just beyond description…a force of nature as far as avant-garde musicians go.”
Since 1990, Vickers has served as flute soloist with Canyonlands New Music Ensemble, the ensemble in residence for the Maurice Abravanel Visiting Distinguished Composers Series in Salt Lake City. He has worked with such distinguished composers as Milton Babbitt, Sir Harrison Birtwistle, John Cage, Chen Yi, John Corigliano, Mario Davidovsky, Steven Mackey, and Shulamit Ran, to name only a few. His concert and recital appearances have included the Dresdener Zentrum für Zeitgenössische Musik, DIEM (Danish Institute of Electroacoustic Music), SEAMUS, Third Practice Electroacoustic Music Festival, and the Cleveland Contemporary Players.
At this week’s concerts, Vickers’ program will center around works by composers of the New Complexity School. “It will be quite an intense program,” the flutist said. “It’s part of a program that I’ve performed many times, and I am excited to be bringing it to Cleveland.”
Friday and Saturday’s program will begin with Jason Eckardt’s Multiplicities (1993), the composer’s only work for solo flute. Though traditionally the instrument is responsible only for a single line, in Multiplicities it assumes a variety of melodic responsibilities.
The program will continue with two works written for Vickers by British composers Marc Yeats and James Erber. In his composer notes for Streaming (2015) for solo alto flute, Yeats writes:
Whilst Streaming is full of cross references, development and variants of its material held together by a fabric of rhythmic units permeating the work as a whole, it was conceived and should be performed as a stream of consciousness; a single, uninterrupted flow of ideas constantly in a state of flux and regeneration; detailed, colourful and frequently energetic and explosive.
Erber’s Desire Lines for solo alto flute (2013-2014) is a work consisting of four, twenty-bar repeated loops, three of which are interwoven, creating “force fields, which nudge the music along parallel but differing routes.”
Vickers will conclude with two works by Brian Ferneyhough, Sisyphus Redux (2009) for alto flute, and Unity Capsule (1975). Vickers describes the latter as “an intense workout and probably the most massive piece ever composed for solo flute.” It took Vickers over ten years to learn the piece. “There’s so many dimensions to it, and although I’ve probably performed it close to twenty times, it is an ongoing project.”
Published on ClevelandClassical.com March 2, 2016.
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