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Review: Ion Sound Project bursting with renewal

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Monday, Dec. 21, 2009

Every piece on Ion Sound Project's new-music concert Sunday evening was a rewarding experience that contributed to the ecological sensibility of the group's thematic season, "Reduce, Renew, Recycle." The concert at Bellefield Hall of the University of Pittsburgh in Oakland, focused on renewal, with musical agitation yielded to a nurturing sensibility and hope.

Pianist Rob Frankenberry provided the spirit that lived up to the title of Libby Larsen's "Firebrand," but the more dulcet ideas originating in the flute, violin and cello carried the day. Michael Torke's "After the Forest Fire" reached the warmest conclusion, with Eliseo Real's beautiful marimba playing provided a gentle sonority that supported Peggy Yoo's sensuous flute and Elisa Kohanski's ardent cello.

The five sections of Orianna Webb's "Sequence Dreams" were delightfully varied, with excellent rhythmic and melodic shape. The writing gave violinist Laura Motchalov plenty of opportunity to show her range, with the marimba part a strongly supporting second. The flutist, cellist and pianist in this piece played only glass instruments, including tuned glasses played by rubbing the rim with a moistened finger. Tuned beer bottles, played by blowing across the lip of the bottle, provided a droll accompaniment for the "Village Dance" movement.

The world premiere of Jonathan Kolm's Terra Secundum was the gratifying conclusion, fluent in its diversity and persuasive in its concluding "Equilibium."

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