The Theater Chamber Players took up regular tenancy at the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater yesterday with the sort of unusual programming that has become a TCP hallmark and that the new theater hopes will become theirs also.
Its centerpiece was the "Night Conjure-Verse" by David Del Tredici, the first performance in its revised version. Scored for two singers and accompanying choirs of winds and strings, the settings of two poems by James Joyce suggest images of light and reflection.
"Simples," a spiral of involuted, economically used thematic material, is the gentler of the two and the more accessible.
"A Memory of the Players in a Mirror at Midnight," a sour and biting commentary by a mirror on what has been reflected in it, is built, not surprisingly, on musical reflection and inversion. Sung marvelously by Phyllis Bryn-Julson and Rose Taylor, with fine support by TCP instrumental regulars, the work bitingly projected the emotions of the conflict and the brutality of stale love.
As if to acknowledgs the demands made by this music on the audience, the rest of the program was much lighter.
Pina Carmirelli led off with a couple of Telemann Fantasies for solo violin and later teamed with Dina Koston for a performance of the Bartok Second Sonata. Both were unexciting. A nice performance of the Boccherini E Major Quintet for guitar and strings followed intermission, and Ligeti's delightful "Adventures" sent the audience away enthralled and giggling.