There was microtonal mayhem at Bargemusic on Friday night during the adventurous Flux Quartet’s performance in the Here and Now series.
The concert opened with Annie Gosfield’s dramatic “Lighthearted and Heavyhearted,” the most effective work on the program. Written in 2002, during a period in which Ms. Gosfield suffered from vertigo, her score incorporates microtones, glissandos and slashing gestures, shifting between somber and raucous moods. Intense, fiery sections alternate with moments of haunting solitude, all vividly illuminated by the ensemble, which performed with commitment throughout the evening.
Max Mandel, Flux’s violist, spoke briefly about Giacinto Scelsi’s String Quartet No. 5. (The other members of Flux are Tom Chiu and Conrad Harris, violinists; and Felix Fan, cellist.)
Scelsi (an Italian count who died in 1988) suffered a mental breakdown, after which he would play the same note on the piano repeatedly throughout the day. Much of his music uses only one pitch, and his abrasively tedious Fifth Quartet centers on F. Notes held over long periods are shaded with microtonal fluctuations and abruptly interrupted by staccato segments.
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