* Notes *
Clarinetist Brenden Guy presented a genial afternoon of Bay Area music at First Unitarian Universalist Church in San Francisco on Sunday. The performance began with David Conte's rather lyrical Sonata for Clarinet and Piano (1978), played by Guy and pianist Miles Graber. Valinor Winds played Nicholas Pavkovic's Eight Figments (2010), whose movements all sounded just as they were named. John Adams' China Gates were introduced and played by pianist Sarah Cahill, who brought the original score, but only used it toward the end of the piece. Before intermission came Joseph Stillwell's Quartet for Clarinet, Violin, Cello and Piano (2012). Guy, violinist Kevin Rogers, cellist Erin Wang, and pianist Aaron Pike played the piece with exuberance.
The second half of the program started with Aaron Pike's Child's Play (2011), played by Rogers, Guy, and Pike. This seemed like fun to perform. Barnaby Palmer conducted Rogers, cellist Michelle Kwon, flutist Sasha Launer, Guy, and Graber in Dan Becker's Chaos Theory-inspired S.T.I.C. (1995). This was followed by Rogers playing Nigun - No. 2 from Baal Shem Suite by Bloch, accompanied by Graber. The piece was startling in contrast with the other more recent music, but was performed beautifully. The concert ended with Conte's Sextet (1999, arranged 2011), which the composer introduced. He explained that he initially had wanted Palmer to conduct this as well, as there are 100 meter changes in this 8 minute piece. However, Conte found that the way the musicians listened to one another made a maestro unnecessary.
The audience was rather silent. The acoustic this space made the piano sound slightly muddy.