Ciosoni -- "all sounds" in Italian -- is a kind of traveling compendium of late-20th-century composition. In its new-music smorgasbord Tuesday at Mount Vernon College's Hand Chapel, the trio displayed an unself-conscious command of styles, from strict canons to free jazz. There was depth and immediacy to an evening that, in lesser hands, would have been a quick and dirty overview.
Instead of presenting their finds (in non-Western music and jazz) as the fruits of academic research, the trio -- a flutist (Tim Lane), a clarinetist (Paul Martin Zonn) and a double bassist (Michael Cameron) -- rethinks the relationship between composer, piece and audience. Clarinetist Zonn suggested that new music should contain "something old and something new." Ciosoni and classical music lovers stood on common ground during the first few selections. Allan Segal's "Curtains for Felix" transformed state-of-the-art blowing and overblowing techniques into opera-overture foreshadowings. It ended with a Meyerbeerian beginning, a flourish that bid farewell to the stock Romantic musical device.
In the spirit of Haydn and Bartok, Michael Cunningham's "Capriccios" explored the quiet fury of innocent-seeming ostinato figures, combining exquisite craftsmanship with rich reflection. Stephen Kennamer's "Prelude & Chaconne" dazzled listeners with arpeggios spun out so fast they sounded like chordal accompaniments. Sometimes, the old-new convergences seemed forced, as when a Cage piece was sandwiched between snippets of 14th-century motet.