Eugene Weekly : Music : 4.28.11


Johnny Clegg

Musical Treats and Travels
A delicious spread of sounds
By Brett Campbell

Airlines may no longer provide fine free food on their flights (at least not to those of us who fly coach), but a pair of recommended concerts offer the opportunity for musical time travel ã accompanied by delectable treats. On May 7 at the Hult Centers Soreng Theater, the Eugene Vocal Arts Ensemble sings a commendably ambitious program of choral music that ranges from Renaissance sounds (madrigals by Thomas Morley and John Dowland, Orlando di Lasso and Josquin des Prez, Claudio Monteverdi and Carlo Gesualdo) to early and late Romantic music by Schubert and Schoenberg (including the latters powerful Peace on Earth), to The Dream Keeper, a brand new composition by William Averitt, accompanied by four-hand piano, the poetry of Langston Hughes and elements of tango, jazz and more.

Sweet treats also grace the Oregon Mozart Players delicious Chamber Music & Chocolate concert Sunday, May 1, at Central Lutheran Church, where four OMP musicians will play Franz Schuberts gloriously tuneful Quartet Movement and one of Beethovens most popular early string quartets, the dramatic Op. 18 #4.

Another urgently recommended concert spans styles and centuries, when Friday, April 29 University of Oregon Opera presents a rare and fascinating double bill at Beall Concert Hall: two Italian madrigal comedies, the musical counterpart of theaters satirical commedia dellarte, with its archetypal comic characters, masks and wigs. The great 20th-century composer Luciano Berios A-Ronne comically depicts servants gone wild, whileRenaissance composer AdrianoBanchieris Senile Madness waggishly recounts the old story of love and youth vs. age and money. Theyre directed by one of the Northwests musical treasures, bass and scholar Nicholas Isherwood.

The UO goes all 21st century on Saturday, April 30. From 4-8 pm, several rooms and performance halls at the music school host the recurring musical exploration called [m], a free, come-and-go-as-you-please meander that lets music lovers experience a wide range of contemporary sounds ã medieval to modern ensembles, jazz in the courtyard, electronic instrument petting zoo, student compositions and multimedia works.

That evening, the schools always-intriguing Future Music Oregon program hosts the experimental California performance trio SoundProof (violinist Patricia Strange, bassist/composer/computer performer Brian Belet, and flugelhornist/trumpeter/composer Stephen Ruppenthal), which combines contemporary sounds with advanced digital processing techniques. The forward-gazing show in the schools room 163 also features interactive student performance works and fixed-media compositions. Andyou can hear todays music on May 1, when UO jazz pianist Toby Koenigsberg leads a trio in his own compositions and those of Elliott Smith, Tim Willcox and others at Aasen-Hull.

Theres more Latin American improv on tap at the Shedd on May 5, when Los Angeles percussionist Poncho Sanchez returns to the steamy Latin jazz that animated his 1980s albums. Beginning with his 1970s work in the great Cal Tjaders band, Sanchez has energetically surveyed Afro-Cuban and other Latin rhythms on more than two dozen albums.

The Shedd continues its globe trotting with Johnny Cleggs May 1 concert. One of South Africas most enduring stars, first in the •80s with the interracial band Juluka (which challenged apartheid laws), then the more rock-oriented Savuka, the anthropologist/activist/singer/songwriter has lately been lighting up the festival circuit with this electric band that includes dancers. On his new album Human, Cleggs politically charged songs, in both Zulu and English, sound as bold as ever.