MATTINGLY, 21, HOLDS CENTER STAGE
Composer Lays Out Spacious Tone Poem
By Paul Hertelendy
artssf.com, the independent observer of San Francisco Bay Area music
Week of Dec. 6-13, 2012
Vol. 15, No. 35
the patience and Sitzfleisch of the
loyal patrons at the Berkeley Symphony was the severe Piano Concerto of
Ligeti. But fortunately
it went between a Schumann symphony and a
work by a 21-year-old local composer that the audience (and this
Mattingly’s “Invisible Skyline (in Three Acts)” is a
highly attractive, diaphonous soundscape, a programmatic piece
inspired by Kabuki theater, among other things) with few focal moments,
stand-out thematic material. There are no grand statements in this
opus, but rather waves of sound reaching over one another in subtle,
ingratiating swells. It’s as if written by a post-Debussy Frenchman who
studied with John Adams and assimilated the latter’s constant metric
5/4 beats, syncopation, trombone pedal points, propulsive pulse and
touches. (Editor’s Note: Parlez-vous?
No son of Gaul, Mattingly is
actually a cheerful
Berkeleyite who has studied with Adams.)
are solos for both violin (Franklyn D’Antonio) and
piano (Sarah Cahill) in the 29-minute piece, spread out spaciously
good bit tougher to chew was the Ligeti concerto, an
academic work of immense rhythmic complexity; instead of coordination,
piano and orchestra go off on different beat counts, ever farther
felt that there was a mosaic of fragments being assembled in ever new
severity might be guessed from the dates of composition (1973-86),
tonality and audience-accessibility returned conclusively as the major
of new works. I counted only 12 in the shrunken “one-of-each-kind”
with generous percussion input, and several unusual instruments whipped
out occasionally (ocarina, slide
whistle, referee whistle, whip-crack).
finale was the most appealing, with its jazzy syncopation elements.
the maximum from each diligent listener, the 21-minute five-movement
earned perfunctory applause. Meriting far more was the Israeli-American
Shai Wosner, who held it together neatly, even when his two hands had
off to the very opposite ends of the keyboard. Conductor
Joana Carneiro, who surely must have
multiple metronomes wired in her brain, led the group through the
aplomb and confidence.
orchestra sounded quite amazing, after an improbable evolution from the
funded, semi-pro group that started it all back in 1969, amidst
would or could support a truly professional ensemble.
Zellerbach Hall program, dedicated to the Bay Area radio annotator Alan
who recently died, concluded with Schumann’s Second Symphony.
Berkeley Symphony, Joana Carneiro
music director, at
Zellerbach Hall, Berkeley.
Next: Feb. 7, highlighting the Lutoslawski Cello Concerto with Lynn
For info: (510) 841-2800, or go online.
©Paul Hertelendy 2012
to main menu.
Paul Hertelendy has been
the dance and modern-music scene in the San Francisco Bay Area with
-- and a certain amount of salsa -- for years.
These critiques appearing weekly (or sometimes semi-weekly, but never
will focus on dance and new musical creativity in performance, with
into books (by authors of the region), theater and recordings by local
artists as well.