German composer Wolfgang von Schweinitz is one of the great musical explorers of our time. He's always experimenting and expanding his boundaries, if indeed he has boundaries, and this week he premieres his newest opus, Plainsound Glissando Modulation, a monumental raga in just intonation for violin and double bass that's the current culmination of his "profound exporation of microtonal phenomena." It's perhaps a big jump from the von Schweinitz of 30 years ago, who hit the new music world running in 1977 with his incredible Variations on a Theme by Mozart, a wild work that begins with staid, somber Mozart and suddenly takes off into blaring dissonant space with brass and winds making eerie noises, strings entering the fray, and percussion following suit until all the instruments are shouting at once. And yet, there is beautiful order in the chaos, into which, at various intervals, a Mozartean line is dropped like a delicate dumpling into a boiling pot. Today, von Schweinitz holds the prestigious Roy E. Dinsey Family Compositional Chair at CalArts, but chairs aren't really for him; his music can't sit still and we're all happy about that. Also on the program: von Schweinitz's Plainsound-Litany for solo cello. Performers on tonight's program include violinist Helge slaatto, bassist Frank Reinecke and cellist Erika Duke-Kirkpatrick.
Sat., Jan. 24, 8:30 p.m., 2009