Synchronia Offers Works of Composers' Reactions

Article excerpt

IT IS a common perception that much of new serious music is very intellectual, detached and dry, when very often the opposite is more accurate. Similarly, composers do not work in a vacuum, they are citizens of the world with a more acute awareness of events than others. For example, two composers' responses to World War II are Arnold Schoenberg's "A Survivor From Warsaw" and Penderecki's 1960 "Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima."

On Sunday afternoon at Webster University's Winifred Moore Auditorium, the new music ensemble Synchronia performed works that featured responses by composers to events. Marie Pelletier's "Tienanmen" (1994) for violin, cello, piano and percussion is a very intense, emotional, even angry piece commemorating the military crackdown in China in 1989. The performance was electrifying even though it required great demands of each musician both individually and in ensemble.

On a more peaceful note, Adriana Verdie de Vas Romero (b. 1958) composed "Flute 2.3.4." in 1993 with the music of her native Argentina in mind. Using the mathematics of musical intervals, she wrote a work demanding that one flute perform two voices, which flutist Betsy Feldman performed with great clarity. …