Late Night, at Length

The Late Night concert which followed on Saturday was a mixed bag starting with the Brentano String Quartet and baritone Davone Tines performing a moving “Amazing Grace.” The quartet then turned to Bach’s last great work, “The Art of the Fugue.” They were then joined by Mr. Iyer for his quasi-improvisational “Time, Place, Action,” a lengthy set of pieces in memory of the poet Amiri Baraka, with Iyer improvising as the Brentanos played mostly written parts. Interesting music that, due to late hour ands the prospect of another featured piece folllowing, maybe should have been given more space in another concert. What followed was perhaps the highlight of the night – a world premiere of a chamber version of “Yet Unheard,” composed by Courtney Bryan and  soprano Helga Davis, with text by Sharan Strange. A relatively short piece, it is a musically lush and compelling call to action, invoking the Black Lives Matter movement, taking as its subject the death of Sandra Bland while in police custody after a routine traffic stop. Offering no catharsis or solutions, it nevertheless reaches an intense and inspiring climax that asks questions which need to be answered. Ms. Davis was shatteringly effective as the soloist, backed by soprano Joelle Lamarre, contralto Gwendolyn Brown, Tenor Julian Otis, baritone Davone Tines and ICE, conducted by Steven Schick.