Can a live performer find happiness with amplifiers, mixers, and prerecorded electronic tape? Last night's concert/discussion by the Contemporary Music Forum in the Corcoran Gallery's Hammer Auditorium answered that question in two different ways.
Flutist Katherine Hay achieved peaceful coexistence with her prerecorded self in Dinu Ghezzo's "Music for Flutes and Tape." This haunting work of multiple echoes and reverberations has the musician alternating between piccolo, flute in C, alto flute in G and the rarely heard bass flute in C, and engaging in various dialogue with her taped and manipulated music-making. Hay's alert and sensitive performance made the listener aware of the eerie blends and balances between live sound and its electronic alter ego.
Composer Jacob Druckman had something different in mind when he wrote "Animus III." In this work for clarinets and tape, the relationship is troubled, competitive and, from the audience's perspective, funny. The performer becomes an actor--readying his instrument, setting up his chair, pushing his music stand up and down on cue, speaking unintelligible phrases, loosening his necktie, reacting adversely to the burblings and explosions emanating from the amplifiers, and exiting in a grand and agitated fashion. These dramatic activities, as well as a great stream of virtuousic sci-fi-mixed-with-rhapsody-in-blue clarinet playing were carried out brilliantly by Gary Marion.
The pair of more conventional works--Hans Werner Henze's "Sonatine" for flute and piano, and Helmut Braunlich's "Trio" for clarinet, 'cello and piano -- completed the program