Functional and entertaining, Paul Lansky's recent "Values of Time," which received its West Coast premiere performance at the second "Green Umbrella" event of the season Monday night, turned out to be the only novelty on a pleasant, virtually chronological program.
As played and broadcast--the 1986 work, introduced at Aspen this past summer, is scored for eight instruments and tape--in Japan America Theatre by members of the CalArts New Twentieth-Century Players, "Values" sounds like elegant Gebrauchsmusik . That is, music for use.
It might accompany a film, or serve as background at a social event--its sounds are pretty, and accessible, faintly familiar, not to say cliched.
It begins in C, and states its case in unmistakable tonal terms before moving farther afield. To those who may remember American radio dramas of the 1940s, its sound will recall those mini-symphonic ensembles that provided live accompaniment for such programs. The prerecorded tape part does not contradict that impression; it contributes spice and decoration.