Small-Scale Sounds

Check out early music, HIP music and high school string players doing ‘60s rock

Pat Metheny

October’s big show is the Eugene Symphony’s Thursday, Oct. 18, Hult Center concert featuring eminent Portland composer David Schiff’s Stomp, Leonard Bernstein’s ambitious “Age of Anxiety” symphony and Beethoven’s underrated symphony No. 8.

But several smaller scale concerts also offer big charms this month. 

This Sunday afternoon, Oct. 21, at the University of Oregon’s Beall Hall, the Dali Quartet plays a pair of too-little-known string quartets by 19th-century Spaniard Juan Crisóstomo Arriaga (his ebullient, Haydnesque third quartet) and the great 20th-century Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera (his daring, dramatic first quartet).

They’re joined by Russian star pianist Olga Kern in Robert Schumann’s ever-popular Piano Quintet in E-flat. Kern won the world’s most prestigious piano competition, the Van Cliburn, and the Dali members rose through Venezuela’s famed El Sistema democratic musical training system. In previous Oregon visits, the foursome has delivered warmly expressive performances of both European and Latin American repertoire. 

If you prefer earlier music, that same afternoon features the historically informed Emerald Chamber Orchestra with singers Phoebe Gildea and Trevor Cook performing J.S. Bach’s fun Peasant Cantata (featuring a farmer and a tax collector) and his famous Orchestral Suite No. 2 at Christian Science Church Auditorium at 14th Avenue and Pearl Street.

Next Sunday, Oct. 28, The Shedd offers an intermediate-scale experience: its microphilharmonic chamber orchestra playing a pair of down-sized classics: Mozart’s dazzling Sinfonia Concertante, featuring dueling viola and violin and arranged for chamber orchestra, and Brahms’s pastoral Serenade No. 1, in its rarely performed reconstructed original version for five winds and four strings.

The Shedd also presents some non-classical small combos this month. This Sunday, Carl Woideck’s Jazz Heritage Project plays instrumental versions of songs made famous by Frank Sinatra, from his early big band hits to his famous concept albums like the immortal Songs for Swingin’ Lovers. 

The next night a true jazz superstar, guitar god Pat Metheny, brings his quartet to The Shedd for a rare retrospective of favorites from his four-decade career. And on Oct. 27, New York pianist Larry Fuller’s trio returns to The Shedd stage for swinging versions of pop standards from Cole Porter to Stevie Wonder, plus bluesy jazz classics.

Finally, while you’re checking out Oct. 25’s Beatles vs. Stones Showdown at the WOW Hall, give a little love to the South Eugene High School String Quartet, who’ll flesh out classic songs that originally used strings, such as “Eleanor Rigby,” “Yesterday,” “As Tears Go By” and “Ruby Tuesday.”

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