2010 Archives

Classical music review:
Eighth Blackbird brilliant, engaging in performance at SMU


The following review was published in the October 24, 2010, edition of The Dallas Morning News.  Grammy-winning new music ensemble Eighth Blackbird won the inaugural 2009-2010 Meadows Prize, a new international arts residency, and spent last week at SMU performing and interacting with students.

The Dallas Morning News

Music-making by turns virtuosic, atmospheric, flamboyant and haunting was offered Saturday night at Southern Methodist University's  Caruth Auditorium. It came from the Chicago-based contemporary-music sextet Eighth Blackbird: Tim Munro (flutes), Michael J. Maccaferri (clarinets), Matt Albert (violin, viola), Nicholas Photinos (cello), Matthew Duvall (percussion) and Lisa Kaplan (piano).

Presented as part of a residency funded by SMU's Meadows Prize, the concert included six pieces in a wide range of recent musical -isms.

 Pierre Boulez's 1984 Dérive 1 progressed from trills and flurries through increasingly complex interactions to a settling on steady tones. Philip Glass' 1969 Music in Similar Motion made much of periodically shifting chitty-chitty-boom-boom patterns.

Glass' minimalism was probably an inevitable reaction to the mid-20th-century complexities of Boulez and company, and it has proved an effective accompaniment to film and dance. Whether of great intrinsic and enduring musical value is a matter for debate. . .

Three unidentified SMU students joined Munro, Photinos and Duvall for Still Life with Avalanche (2008) by Missy Mazzoli. Perky bubblings contrasted with swaying motifs and pitch slides, sometimes in different time and tonal zones.

Eighth Blackbird certainly lived up to its reputation for brilliant and engaging performances. The musicians' spoken introductions were as smart as the playing.

Read the full review.

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