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Left Coast Chamber Ensemble to present a concert of ‘serious fun’

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The first concert in the new year of the 2013–2014 season of the Left Coast Chamber Ensemble (LCCE) is entitled Some Serious Fun. As usual, the title refers to both recent and past compositions on the program. In this case the composition from the past is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart’s K. 498 trio for piano, clarinet, and viola in E-flat major. Mozart called this the “Kegelstatt” trio, using the German noun for a place where skittles, a European version of bowling, are being played. Mozart claimed he wrote his K. 487 set of twelve duos for basset horns while playing skittles, writing this on the autograph of his score; and, for some unexplained reason, later publishers transferred the connection over the to K. 498 trio (thus creating almost as much confusion as the publishers who attached the name “Moonlight” to the second of Ludwig van Beethoven’s Opus 27 piano sonatas): fun for the publishers, if not for the musicians.

A far clearer denotation of fun that was also explicitly acknowledged by the composer is a collection of pieces by György Kurtág entitled Signs, Games, and Messages. This is a generic title that Kurtág used for collections of short pieces that he wrote for both solo and small combinations of instruments. LCCE will perform the set he composed for string trio between 1989 and 2005. Equally explicit is the title of Moritz Eggert’s winning entry for the 2003 LCCE Composition Contest, “Pong,” which amounts to a musical rendering of the pioneering computer game created by Atari in 1972. In a related vein the program will include the world premiere of a new quintet by Steve Horowitz, who teaches a course on writing music for computer games, entitled “The Wonder Pets Save the Circus.”

Aspects of playfulness will also be found in the remaining compositions on the program. A major highlight will be the West Coast premiere of the winning entry for the 2013 LCCE Composition Contest. This is “Scat” by Michael-Thomas Fournai, whose title is reflected in a rhetoric based on improvisatory vocal jazz. There is also a competitive edge to Laura Schwendinger’s “High Wire Act,” a quintet for flute, violin, viola, cello, and piano. Finally, Scott Lindroth’s “Yield to Total Elation,” a trio for flute, viola, and guitar, invokes the imaginary world envisioned by architect Achilles Rizzoli.

This concert will take place at 8 p.m. on Monday, February 3, in the Recital Hall of the San Francisco Conservatory of Music. Single tickets will be sold at the door for $30 general admission with $15 admission for patrons aged 35 and under. Tickets may be purchased online from the event page for this concert on Brown Paper Tickets. For further information about this concert call 415-617-5223.

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