Saturday, Hither and Yon

First up for the Saturday Afternoon Concert: The Brentano String Quartet’s trip from Mozart’s 1783 “Quartet in Eb Major, K428” to Vijay Iyer’s 2011 “Mozart Effect,” written for the Quartet from a fragment of an unfinished work by Wolfgang. In between those two pieces they made a side trip to György Kurtág’s 2005 “Moments Musicaux” in six movements , or fragments inspired by a range of subjects from footfalls to a eulogy and a playful homage to birds to the effect of the rhythms of speech on music. For the second half of the concert, members of ICE were led by Tyshawn Sorey for his “Autoschediasms for Creative Chamber Orchestra,” influenced by Butch Morris’s  conduction® method–conducted improvisation–which grew out of free-jazz. It was fascinating to watch the morning rehearsal as Mr. Sorey explained to the musicians what his different hand gestures meant, sometimes using as many as four batons and even writing suggestions on a whiteboard for more specific directions about tempi and key. The success of the method depends on the improvisatory skills of the musicians working together with the “conductioner” to shape an original piece of art in real time, and it all came together in the concert.