Turning Point Ensemble's last concert of the 2015/16 season, Superimposition, takes place this weekend at the Chan Centre's Telus Studio. TPE is sharing the stage with the Nu:BC Collective (flutist Paolo Bortolussi, cellist Eric Wilson, and pianist Corey Hamm), a trio that has been an ensemble-in-residence at UBC for the past decade.
Last night's performance opened with TPE presenting a lively septet by the Brazilian composer Heitor Villa Lobos. Nu:BC followed with a new arrangement of Ana Sokolović's Portrait Parle, a violin concerto transposed to the flute. As Bortolussi indicated in introducing the piece, this involved a bit of head-scratching, including how one plays the actual scratch of a string on a wind instrument. The first half of the program then concluded with the premiere of John Oliver's Cool Cut, a jazz concerto in five songs that saw TPE accompanying the solo alto saxophonist Julia Nolan. The quotations of Billy Strayhorn's Lush Life and Dave Brubeck's Take Five, among other jazz classics, were wonderfully accomplished, and it was a great to hear TPE's crackerjack musicians getting into the swing of things.
Following intermission, we were treated to two more premieres. The first, Dorothy Chang's Bagatelles, was a series of six short studies for Nu:BC, each exploring a different theme. Finally, Aaron Gervais's Break Up or Make Up pitted the Nu:BC and TPE ensembles against each other, albeit in a way that was less about who could dominate or subdue the other musically than about Gervais's own compositional battle with Lisztian Romanticism.
I actually lied when I opened this post by saying that this was the last concert of the season for TPE. In fact, the ensemble will be premiering a new cello concerto by TPE Artistic Director and Conductor Owen Underhill on the afternoon of June 5th at SFU Woodward's Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre. This will be followed by an exclusive wine tasting and reception featuring more music at L'Abattoir restaurant that will double as a fundraiser for TPE. More information and tickets can be found here.