Review: Chicago Symphony’s latest MusicNOW concert, a collaboration with Vijay Iyer

Posted on: November 20, 2017

“Pianist Vijay Iyer stands as a composer of many facets, and two of them were apparent Monday evening,” writes Howard Reich in Wednesday’s (11/15) Chicago Tribune. “Presented by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra’s MusicNOW series, ‘Vijay Iyer: A Portrait’ really amounted to a sketch of an artist with a great deal to say and multiple tools with which to say it…. The evening opened with the Chicago premiere of Iyer’s ‘Time, Place, Action,’ a 2014 opus…. But for those who identify Iyer’s pianism with dense blocks of sound and immensely complex harmonic and melodic structures, ‘Time, Place, Action’ was as much a surprise as a revelation…. Imagine a mixture of Stravinsky-like neoclassicism and Philip Glass-like minimalism (though without Glass’ repetitive excesses), and you have a rough idea of the musical syntax of this piece. Yet this performance, in which Iyer collaborated with members of the CSO, proved so charismatic that the compositional techniques were overshadowed by the musical message (always a good sign)…. The string players collaborated with him sensitively, CSO violinists Baird Dodge and Hermine Gagne and CSO violist Danny Lai joined by Chicago cellist Joshua Zajac.” Also on the program was Iyer’s A Cosmic Rhythm With Each Stroke.   

Posted November 20, 2017