Friday, March 1, 2013

The Boston Musical Intelligencer
"February 26, 2013
Composers Gather for Guitar Premieres
by Janine Wanée

Aaron Larget-Caplan, guitarist, a faculty member of Boston Conservatory, gave a free recital there Friday, which although casual, had the unique distinction of gathering in one place an extraordinary number of published composers for more world and regional compositional premieres than most guitar audiences have ever witnessed.

Seully Hall at first appearance is the right sized venue for a concert featuring an instrument as intimate as the classical guitar, but acoustically it fell short. The sound seemed to somehow get trapped in the rafters for some of the more intimate moments, while competing both with traffic sounds and with a nearby piano practice room. Larget-Caplan played with astounding technical proficiency and artistic delicacy, but wanted at times for more assertiveness in dance-like rhythm and dynamic contrast in voicing, which may be due partly to the space and to the technical demands of a potentially overwhelming amount of new repertoire to prepare and assimilate in one recital. So to treat this performance fairly in review would be to view it not as a pricey and prestigious debut, but more experimentally as a technically rigorous presentation forum; and in that light, it was by all means a very impressive and enjoyable performance.

Larget-Caplan made several adjustments to the first half of the program. Instead of opening with his own arrangement of J.S. Bach’s Fugue in C Minor, BWV 962 (transposed to d minor), he switched a more solidly familiar piece he could play with ease and confidence. Kevin Siegfried’s Tracing a wheel on water (2003), as its name would imply, was composed of a fluid and harmonically accessible, cyclical minimalism that, although meditative, contained subtly delightful, textural and rhythmic surprises.

In the opposite order in which they appeared on the program, Larget-Caplan dove into three lullabies by three separate composers, all of whom were present that evening. Jim Dalton’s A World of Your Own and David Patterson’s Lullaby for Ewe (both composed in 2012), were each introduced to an audience for the first time. Instead of the tuneful, lulling, rhythmic regularity that one conventionally associates with lullabies, both these pieces had a similar ambience through texture that was sonorously metaphoric of a blank canvass being kissed by muted splashes of watercolor. In the program notes, Jim Dalton states,

A lullaby should be seen as an invitation to a world of one’s own making, a dream world. I present examples of my own inner world as an invitation to each to travel to their own place and to create it for themselves. The quarter tones dissolving to unisons at the beginning and end are meant to lull the listener by entrainment-tension to relaxation. The inner world is a place where the magical and surprising are ever present and commonplace. Since it is created by the dreamer, it should be welcoming and peaceful.
Dalton’s World was comprised of harmonics, chord suspensions, tritones, and pentatonic allusions to the Orient...."

And Maggi adds:

I believe I see a PhD island in my telescope. A few waves in front of the canoe 'twixt here and there, but I'm starting to paddle that way, shipmates.

New plans for Singing String Music, and the American History and Music Project, too, and for book publications and recordings...kind of an exciting year ahead, if it all goes as planned.

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