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16.2.09

On the Radio

Tune your radio dial to 90.9 FM on Mondays at 9 pm to hear Front Row Washington, broadcasts of recent concerts in the area's concert halls. Here is the program of this evening's installment:

February 16, 9 pm
Ma’alot Quintet
National Gallery of Art

A snippet of what to expect from someone who was there:

For those who know Ligeti from "Atmosphères," "Le Grand Macabre" or the soundtrack to Kubrick's "2001: A Space Odyssey," the Bagatelles are a surprise: antic, delightful, effervescent, compact. The first of these short pieces sounds like a love-child of Rossini and Prokofiev, rapidly and mischievously galloping through slightly sour, brash harmonies; each subsequent piece similarly finds a clear, telling stance, from the happy bubbling of an Allegro grazioso to the tolling bell of an Adagio that is gradually pulled apart into long, sustained chords.

These Bagatelles, and Barber's "Summer Music" -- which exudes some of the flavor of mid-20th-century Americana, but with a distinctly Barberian humidity and lushness rather than the cleaner, sparer feeling of, say, Copland -- were the only pieces on the program actually written for quintet. The other works -- a suite of Piazzolla movements and two Scott Joplin rags, as well as the Mendelssohn -- were capably arranged by the group's clarinetist, Ulf-Guido Schaefer.
Anne Midgette, Ma'alot Quintet Lights Up For Ligeti (Washington Post, January 13, 2009)

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