Monday night at the Corcoran the Contemporary Music Forum offered a model concert in the high style and provocative tradition that have become the group's hallmark. The music, ranging from a 20th-century classic to more recent works, was stimulating and the performances impeccable.
David Stock, on hand from Pittsburgh where he is conductor of the New Music Ensemble, contributed the opening "Three Pieces" for violin and piano. Written in 1969, the set explores the expressive potential which lingers in the interval of a seventh. Much like color studies in art, the work places the interval in different contexts, some quite poetically conceived, to see what endures as the meanings shift. It is fascinating stuff.
The Washington composer Lawrence Moss was also present for the premiere of his "Images," for clarinet, tape and dancers. Based on two poems by Rilke, the tape part juxtaposes altered forms of the original German and the English translation along with pure electronic sounds, out of which come flowing clarinet lines. The choreography by Meriam Rosen seems to be an ideal fusion with the music. One is pulled totally into the visual images while awareness of the sounds floats pleasantly in and out of one's consciousness, particularly appropriate in the case of the poem entitled "Dream." It was also an effective device, right for the distant quality of both the music and the poetry, to have three robed figures observing the three dancers, in the fashion of a Greek chorus.
All the artists deserve commendation for a splendid evening, but violinist Helmut Braunlich must be singled out for the exceptional character and color of his interpretations in the Stock piece, Stravinsky's "L'Histoire du Soldat" and a "Concerto" for violin and tape by John Melby.