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Chatter puts eight musicians onstage

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The next Chatter Sunday pairs the contemporary with the romantic, knitted in shivers of texture producing both energy and calm.

The chamber concert at Las Puertas Event Center will feature group co-artistic director James Shields on clarinet. Local and visiting musicians will perform: co-director David Felberg, hornists Nathan Ukens and Peter Erb, violinist Emily Cole, violist Laura Manko, cellist Dana Winograd and bassist Sam Brown.

The musicians will play “Fellow Traveler,” a string quartet by the famed American composer John Adams, and “PoyoPoyo,” a solo horn piece by the Japanese composer Dai Fujikura.

“They both have incredibly active textures,” Shields said in a telephone interview from Portland, Ore. “They use very dense texture to achieve the complete opposite effect.”

The Adams piece is “an intense, high-energy ride, with the strings going very fast, syncopated, jazzy rhythms in a web,” he said.

“PoyoPoyo” meditates in the opposite direction.

“In Japanese, the word ‘PoyoPoyo’ describes something soft and squidgy, with a velvety texture – like the cheek of a 4-month-old baby, which is how old my daughter was when I wrote this work,” Funikura said. The work is for solo horn.

“It sounds very active on the surface,” Shields said. “He uses a mute for bass trombone. It creates a totally different texture, an otherworldly sound.”

The 19th century German composer Louis Spohr bridged the gap between classicism and romanticism, between Mozart and Wagner. The musicians will play his Octet in E major with violin, two violas, a clarinet, two horns, a cello and a bass. The blend sounds like a chamber orchestra, Shields said.

“The violin part is incredibly virtuosic. It’s a beautiful, exciting, elegant piece,” he said. “It sounds really full-textured for eight players.”

Shields is the principal clarinetist with the Oregon Symphony, but he returns to Albuquerque several times a year.

“First of all, I love Albuquerque,” he said. “And Chatter is extraordinarily unique. We’re doing 70 concerts a year, and they have 150 people (attending each show). I’m truly humbled and thrilled to still be involved.”

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