20210417 ChamberFest Crumb Concert

George Crumb: An Idyll for the Misbegotten American composer George Crumb (b. 1929 ) holds a peculiar place in the 20th Century canon. An early post-modernist composer who marched to the beat of his own drum, his music draws inspiration from many sources including nature, medieval monks, Chinese poets, and the imagined sounds of pre-history. The Misbegotten in this work refers to humans, who Crumb views as having lost their connection to nature. Nature, or a stylized, mystical version of it, is very present in this music. The scoring for flute and percussion is no mistake. These instruments represent the first instruments on which humans would have made music. The work was written for the Canadian musician Robert Aitken, who served as the Principal Flutist of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for five years, beginning at the age of 19. Toru Takemitsu (1930-1996) occupies a particular place in the classical music world. A largely self-taught composer, his musical influences reflect the cultural mix of post-war Japan in the 1950s. The Beatles, French chanson, avant-garde art and music, and ever-present traditional Japanese and Asian music helped craft a very personal and intuitive musical language filled with beauty and space. In Rain Tree for percussion trio, one of three works he wrote with that title, he explores an idea from a writer Kenzaburo Oe: “It was named the ‘rain tree’, for its abundant foliage continued to let fall raindrops from the previous night’s shower until the following midday. Its hundreds of thousands of tiny, finger-like leaves store up moisture, whereas other trees dry out at once.”