Composer Sebastian Currier
Currier is a composer who often glances backward at the traditions of the past, and the opening work, Verge, was a delightful nod to Schumann’s Kinderszenen. Inspired by the movement “Almost too serious,” each movement in Currier’s work is titled similarly and attempts to push aesthetic boundaries, without overdoing it. The music was at times almost too fast, light, calm, mechanical, etc., if not also "Almost too esoteric" -- an excellent opening to the program. What followed was a showcasing of baritone William Sharp and pianist Lisa Emenheiser, who presented a smattering of Ives’s songs, interspersed with solo piano works by Currier. Charles Ives, the infamous Yale boy turned insurance salesmen who somehow revolutionized American music on the side, mixed American vernacular song with Protestant church music, Western art music, and his own experimental style. The songs presented Saturday were so deeply rooted in American life that they have become incredibly poignant over time, despite their occasional silliness, and baritone William Sharp beautifully captured their character.
Joan Reinthaler, 21st Century Consort transcends gimmickry with well-matched "Currier and Ives" (Washington Post, December 7)
The next concert by the 21st Century Consort (March 13, 5 pm) will feature music by Kaija Saariaho, Scott Wheeler, Evan Chambers, and Robert Parris.