The Contemporary Music Forum moved to the Corcoran Gallery's atrium last night for the final concert of its season. As usual when the Forum takes over this space, the program was designed to exploit visual and aural possibilities not available in the auditorium.
Milton Babbitt's "Vision and Prayer" for soprano and tape provided a dramatic opening. Standing at the top of the atrium stairs, framed in a bold red light, soprano Marilyn DeReggi chanted a succinct Dylan Thomas text. Following the poem's journey from images of darkness and chaos into light, DeReggi shaped with compelling urgency the stream-of-consciousness melodies and gradually descended the stairs as the light changed to blue and then white. Though the music itself, particularly the taped sounds, appealed primarily to the head, DeReggi's three-dimensional projection made the work highly effective.
Dancer Mary-Averett Seelye contributed two subtle works in her special form, which combines recited poetry and movement. In both a contemporary Greek poem and a Wallace Stevens text, she revealed an exceptional ability to create visual sequences that captured the poetry's inner rhythm and meaning.
There were some interesting effects such as the flutist's simultaneous singing and playing, in Jackson Hill's "Whispers of the Dead" for solo flute, but the piece as a whole lacked substance.Greek composer Anestis Logothetis was represented by "Enklaven," an intriguing work with a one-page score designed in his own pictographic language. Given two different realizations by five of the Forum members, each version possessed unity and dramatic flow, attesting both to the composer's successful intent and the musicians' sensitive interpretive skills.