by Mike Telin
Founded at Oberlin, the contemporary music sextet eighth blackbird had a triumphant homecoming on Friday, October 4 in Warner Concert Hall, when the three-time Grammy-winning ensemble joined with the Oberlin Conservatory’s Contemporary Music Ensemble (CME) in a brilliant concert for a large and enthusiastic crowd. Throughout the evening, eighth blackbird confirmed its reputation as one of the world’s preeminent chamber music ensembles. And from all appearances, the future of new music is in good hands with the members of CME.
Premieres by Oberlin faculty members Tom Lopez and Peter Swendsen bookended the concert. Each work is scored for two identical groups of instruments — flute, clarinet, violin, cello, piano and percussion plus electronics. Both were given inspired performances by eighth blackbird and CME.
Lopez’s Skipping Stones (2013) is an evocative work reminiscent of tossing rocks into the water while floating down a placid river — an effect achieved through the tossing of musical motives from one group of six to the other. [Read more…]