Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
The Contemporary Music Forum played another of those programs Monday that make life rough for the reviewer of the contemporary music scene.
The playing at the Washington Ethical Society was, as usual at these concerts, excellent - Thoroughly in control of whatever problems were raised. This is saying a lot, when music for flute and piano by Daria Semegen is on hand, or Stuart Smith's Gifts, for piano, violin and flute. Or Gordon Cyr's settings of poems by Father John Banister Tabb, for voice and piano. And, Leo Kraft's expert music for viola, flute and piano.
And there were two Krenek songs, and music for piano by Frederick Koch. And finally the Debussy sonata for flute and viola, which made it even rougher, in retrospect, on all that had gone before.
Because out of the hundreds of notes you could hear fine craftsmanship, thorough composing skills, vocal lines in wide leaps, the flute flutter-tonguing simultaneously with a kind of sustained moan. Or the piano's lower strings being manipulated by a small squeegee. But what you could not hear, until Debussy came along to show the difference between the men and the boys, was some idea of what to do with all these sounds.
The proficient music-making was in the hands and voice of Helmut Brunlich, Barbro Dahlman, Arno and Ruth Drucker, Al Gifford, Cynthia Kitt, Dotian Carter, Cynthia Montooth and Robert Newkirk.