“Contemporary Music” – David Stock

"Contemporary Music"- these two words  strike fear and loathing into the
hearts of so many concert-goers. Last weekends PSO concerts demonstrated just how
out-of-date those fears now are.
Two works of the 1990s, one by a 20th Century giant, the other by a living
American , showed clearly that we have nothing to fear but fear itself.
Jennifer Higdon’s blue cathedral  is a fine example of the expressiveness,
approachability, and, yes, sheer beauty of much of today’s music. It’s hard to imagine
anyone not being drawn into the sound-world of this lovely piece unless his/her
mind is completely closed.
And Messiaen’s late-in-life Sourire evoked the  both tenderness and the
playfulness of Mozart, its dedicatee.
These works, along with many the PSO has presented in recent seasons,
should-hopefully-dispell any notions that "Contemporary" must equal ugly,
complicated and hermetic.

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