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Chatter celebrates state’s centennial

Roberto Sierra composed “Caprichos,” which Chatter will premiere Friday in Santa Fe.
Roberto Sierra composed “Caprichos,” which Chatter will premiere Friday in Santa Fe.
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The ensemble Chatter 20-21 is giving a musical gift in honor of New Mexico’s centennial.

The gift is contained in a Friday, Nov. 9, concert in Santa Fe.

One work on the program is Arnold Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire,” which premiered in 1912, the year New Mexico became a state.

If you go
WHAT: Chatter 20-21
WHEN: 6 p.m. Friday, Nov. 9
WHERE: St. Francis Auditorium, New Mexico Museum of Art, 107 W. Palace, downtown Santa Fe
HOW MUCH: $25 general public, $9 for students and anyone under age 30 at www.chatterchamber.org or at the door
There is a preconcert reception from 4-5:30 p.m. Friday at the Patina Gallery, 131 W. Palace Ave, downtown Santa Fe

A second work is Roberto Sierra’s “Caprichos,” a Chatter 20-21 commission that will have its world premiere at the concert.

“We wanted to do something for the centennial, but commission a piece for us, too,” said James Shields, a clarinetist and Chatter’s associate artistic director.

“Sierra wrote something that he felt would fit the Chatter ensemble. So it’s a very virtuosic piece. It’s a series of short movements, very dense. Each movement is very compact. There’s all this fast activity in all the movements.”

Some of them are murmuring, quiet and rustling, while others are violent and flashy, Shields said.

Sierra is a sought-after contemporary composer for commissions. His work has been performed and commissioned by major orchestras and ensembles in the United States and Europe.

Performing “Caprichos” will be Shields, violinist and Chatter artistic director David Felberg, flutist Jesse Tatum, cellist James Holland, pianist Daniel Spiegel and vibraphonist Jeff Cornelius.

Schoenberg’s “Pierrot Lunaire” is a song cycle based on 21 poems by Albert Giraud. In the songs Pierrot sings of love, sex, religion, disappointment, crime, blasphemy and returning home.

Soprano Meagan Brus sings the male role of Pierrot. An instrumental ensemble plays simultaneously as soloists and as an orchestra.

The third piece on the program is John Adams’ “Grand Pianola Music,” which is scored for two pianos, winds, brass, percussion and three female voices.

“It’s a crazy piece,” Shields said. “It’s beautiful, has delicate music; there is this brash Americana in it. It packs a wallop.”

Chatter, he said, wanted to frame the 100 years of statehood with the Schoenberg and the Sierra.

“The Adams looks forward. It creates a mood of positiveness and determination and invokes the spirit of the (Southwest) landscape,” Shields said.

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