Advertisement
YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

MUSIC REVIEW

Shelton adds luster to 'Philomel'

November 18, 2002|Richard S. Ginell | Special to The Times

Lucy Shelton remains one of our most enterprising new music sopranos, with a stack of commissions from major league 20th century composers on her shelf, ready for anything that a Boulez or a Carter or a Henze might put in front of her. Those fortunate enough to have noticed that Shelton was giving a free concert at CalArts on Saturday were rewarded with a rare live performance of Milton Babbitt's 1963 electronic cantata "Philomel."

More than just a demonstration of Babbitt's serial-rooted virtuosity on the hulking RCA synthesizer, "Philomel" had sensuality and dramatic shape as Babbitt's multi-channel tape -- superbly reproduced in the Roy O. Disney Music Hall -- burbled and commented on John Hollander's text. Shelton sang with luster and expression.

Shelton also could be heard in Joshua Cody's folk-music transcription "Ya No Me Peino Pa II," where despite the use of microtones and the fizzing, scraping violin of Mark Menzies, the tonality was always well defined. Though Earl Kim's "Earthlight" struck me as tedious and fragmented, Shelton sailed through what must have been a difficult succession of spoken and vocalise episodes, in league with Menzies and pianist Peter Miyamoto.

Elsewhere, Menzies performed solo pieces by Bob Clendenen -- the lyrical "Summer Variations" and astringent "Affirmation" -- and carried on parallel dialogues on viola with bass clarinetist Jim Sullivan in Jim Gardner's "Burr."

Advertisement
Los Angeles Times Articles
|
|
|