On Saturday, October 20th, the Carnegie Mellon Contemporary Ensemble will perform works of Jacob Druckman, Witold Lutoslawski, and Henryk Gorecki.
Conductor Daniel Nesta Curtis will lead the Ensemble in Jacob Druckman's Come Round, a set of variations with ritornellos (returning thematic material) for a small ensemble of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, and percussion. Druckman has said of this piece that "there is no 'theme' in the sense of a central or original form...but rather six equal incarnations of the same musical materials coexisting like parallel truths."
Next, conducting student Hanjin Sa will lead the Ensemble in Witold Lutoslawski's Dance Preludes, a work written shortly after World War II. This work occupies a unique place in Lutoslawski's oeuvre, falling as it does between a period of harsh censorship imposed on him during the Stalin years and the relative freedom he enjoyed thereafter during the 1950s. During the war years Lutoslawski supported himself by writing nationalist music in a folk idiom; this was far from his true compositional voice, but it was the only music that the regime deemed suitable for a proletarian audience. In the 1950's Lutoslawski enjoyed greater freedom to explore the musical avant-garde in his own compositions, but still found occasion to write a suite of dances based on folk tunes from northern Poland.
Finally, Geoffrey Larson will conclude the program with Henryk Gorecki's elegaic Kleine requiem fur eine Polka ("Polka" in this case referring not to a dance but to a polish young woman.) The work moves slowly through a sparse harmonic landscape, offering listeners an introduction to Gorecki's uniquely compelling sound-world, composed of fragments from orthodox chant, tolling bells, and frequently-repeated minor thirds. The concert will take place on Saturday, October 20th at 5:00 pm in Kresge Theatre and is free and open to the public.