The world will have to wait a month for the premiere of "Songs From An Open Hand" by Janice Hamer. Clarinetist Gary Marion of the Contemporary Music Forum broke a finger Sunday and at the last minute the Forum had to drop two works from the program it played last night at the National Institutes of Health; the other was Quartet IV by Steven Strunk. Both works will be performed on Jan. 17 at the Corcoran Gallery, when the Forum repeats its program.
It was an all-Washington-composers program, even with two substitutions. Pianist Barbro Dahlman performed "Snapshots," a series of eight short pieces by Ulf Grahn that serve as introductory etudes in the techniques and styles of avant-garde piano music. Also a substitute was the eloquent Duo for Violin and Flute by Robert Parris.
The high point of the evening was a vocal work by Jean Eichelberger Ivey, "Solstice" for soprano, flute, percussion and piano. Using a text by the composer, this is wintry music dedicated to "half-past night and half-past winter . . . the longest night of the year." It is vividly expressive with very subtle use of percussion and flute as well as the high notes of piano to hint at bleak winter atmosphere. Soprano Pamela Jordan sang expressively.
Music for viola, percussion and piano by Nancy Van De Vate is a study in the contrasts between tight rhythmic patterns and loose, rhapsodic styles, very effective in both kinds of music and galvanizing in some of its heavily rhythmic passages.