Reprinted from yesterday's late editions.
You have to be a perculiarly trusting soul to be a contemporary composer - at least a composer like Leo Kraft, Joel Naumann, Ulf Grahn or Sylvano Bussotti, who include indeterminacies, letting the performers decide in some compositions just what notes will be played and how they will sound. You have to trust the performers or you have to believe that whatever happens will be somehow music; perhaps you have to do both.
All four of the composers above, plus Igor Stravinsky and Lawrence Moss who wrote it all down (another way of trusting the performer, of course) were represented Sunday night in the final program of the brief but vivid Artucopia series at the Marvin Center Theater of George Washington University. Two of them were also present, Grahn as a performer on violin and viola, Naumann as a very satisfied spectator. Their trust clearly was well placed in the four brilliant performers from the Contemporary Music Forum.
A good part of the program was hilarious; in the Bussotti pieces, for example, fetchingly costumed pianist Barbro Dahlman fussed with black gloves and busts of Beethoven and Brahms during the music and slipped an anonymous French dance of the 13th century unobtrusively into the score.
But there was also intense seriousness (in the intricate "Patterns" of Moss, for example) and dancer Mary-Everett Seelye's "Vertical Is To Live - Horizontal Is To Die," a vivid interpretation of a text by Buckminster Fuller, was serious and hilarious at the same time.