Eugene Weekly : Music : 10.13.11


Autumn Winds
Fall brings woodwinds out of the woodwork
By Brett Campbell

For music lovers, the best part of the whole back-to-school thing is that the UO’s music machine cranks up again, meaning Beall Hall and other venues once again become the state’s hot spots for classical, jazz and world music. 

Friday, Oct. 14, UO alum Richard Smith, a much-admired jazz guitarist and USC professor, returns to Beall with Francesco Buzzurro in a dueling-guitar program of jazz, pop arrangements (by The Who, Stevie Wonder and others) and more. Their last show here sold out, so advance tickets are a good idea. 

On Wednesday, Oct. 19, Beall welcomes the Oasis Saxophone Quartet, and if the name brings up associations with jazz, a more accurate reference might be the Kronos Quartet — but for saxes. The ensemble also plays 20th and 21st century “classical” tunes as well, such as music by Ravel, the great American microtonalist Ben Johnston, David Maslanka and others. Because the members have diverse interests, including jazz and ethnomusicology, their show should range widely. All of the Oasis Saxophone Quartet’s music is played with a pinpoint precision more associated with string quartets.

More breath-powered music emanates from the UO Music School’s room 178 at 1 pm Thursday, Oct. 20, when one of the world’s greatest flutists, Molly Barth, performs music by one of today’s most eclectic and compelling composers, Eve Beglarian. This free performance also features Beglarian’s new piece for horn and electronics, written for and performed by UO horn professor Lydia Van Dreel, and a talk about her music by the composer, who’s visiting from New York.

Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet

At 3 pm Sunday, Oct. 23, the Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet, boasting soloists from perhaps the finest orchestra on the planet, will play the wonderful Six Bagatelles by one of the 20th century’s greatest composers, Gyorgy Ligeti, American composer Samuel Barber’s lovely pastoral Summer Music, plus music by Mozart, Nielsen and more. 

Sunday, Oct. 16, Sam Bond’s Garage hosts the Los Angeles-based duo Wahid, which plays ancient Middle Eastern instruments (the lute called the “oud” and a tuned-frame drum) plus electronic enhancements in original compositions and improvisations. It sounds like a stark combo, but the world-fusion music duo manages to craft a much richer than expected sound, often using complex rhythms from North Africa, Turkey and Eastern Europe. The excellent triple bill also includes veteran Eugene musician Josh Humphrey’s Crandall Trio, which features saxophone, tabla and bass, plus a short set by Eugene’s own Turkish music ensemble, Ala Nar

Classical fans will have heard of another East European composer, Franz Liszt, and  you’ll be hearing a lot more about the virtuoso piano genius this year because he was born 200 years to the night — Oct. 22 — before the excellent UO pianist Dean Kramer performs a recital of Liszt’s music at Beall Hall.

Liszt’s countryman Joseph Haydn lived most of his life in what was then Austria-Hungary, but achieved some of his greatest triumphs in London, where he was commissioned to compose and lead his last dozen symphonies. His very last, Symphony #104, is one of music’s truly eloquent closing statements, with a final movement that can be one of the most thrilling rides in all of classical music. Guest conductor Andrew Sewell will lead the Eugene Symphony’s Oct. 20 performance of Symphony #104 and music by Felix Mendelssohn, Benjamin Britten and Edward Elgar at the Hult Center.