The Contemporary Music Forum's Monday night concert was dubbed "American Classic," intended as a summary of innovative styles found in this country's music. Whether or not the works met the objectives, the Corcoran Gallery audience was given a well-balanced program of rarely heard music.
David John Olsen's "Quartet: Cirque Noir," which received its Washington premiere, is a colorful, neatly crafted programmatic piece for flute, clarinet, violin and cello. Olsen shows an affinity for the theater with a highly narrative style that acutely captures dramatic action, yet the quartet is very viable as a concert selection.
Leo Ornstein's broad-textured Sonata for violin and piano, Op. 31, was played with conviction by violinist Helmut Braunlich and pianist Mark Markham. The impassioned andante was especially well executed.
Roque Cordero's long "Quinteto" (1949) for flute, clarinet, violin, cello and piano was given energetic attention even if ensemble was a little weak in the lento movement. The largo showed renewed force and vigor, however.
Soprano Pamela Jordan performed songs by Charles Ives with a bright, open tone that aptly fitted the music's character. She was at her best when dealing with the sweet and nostalgic texts, although her performance of "The Circus Band" was entirely appealing.