//Ad libs: More 'metaphysical' music at the Cantor

Friday, November 13, 2009

More 'metaphysical' music at the Cantor

Friday still means free experimental music at the Cantor Arts Center, and today I was back to watch more musicians with new takes on Mark Applebaum's wild "Metaphysics of Notation" score. (I was last there in May for Sam Adams and his laptop.)

Today featured the Weekly's A&E intern, violist Be'eri Moalem; and his cellist girlfriend, Julia Jurkiewicz. The pair originally met playing a Brahms quartet together. They took on Applebaum's score of symbols, flowers and dots with verve. I enjoyed the rich range of sound: mournful, smooth, intricately patterned, minimalist, lively.

At one point, Be'eri stomped and Julia knocked rhythmically on her cello, creating a sort of fast-paced folk dance. Later, I peered at that section of the score to see what had inspired them, and found sharp diagonals emanating out from peaceful centers, and curving lines wrapping around like ribbons.

Other moments were very familiar: I heard pieces of Bach and hints of "Avinu Malkeinu" and other Jewish songs. Be'eri said later that some of the notation's imagery reminded him of the emotions called up by other pieces of music. He has more to say about the score

The upstairs balcony where the score lives is a very resonant space, which players have enjoyed. It's also, of course, surrounded by visual art. In the middle of today's concert, I slipped into the neighboring Frank Lobdell figure-drawing exhibition for a moment. It was a pleasure to hear the gorgeous sounds of the strings ebbing into the gallery as I admired Lobdell's deft drawings of women. One moment the music added more grace to the women's curves; another, it contributed drama to the inky shadows drawn behind them. Each art form helped me find more to appreciate in the other.

Concerts are planned through February, with recordings of past performances up at the museum.

Pictured: Be'eri Moalem and Julia Jurkiewicz playing at the Cantor. Photo by Rebecca Wallace.