Thursday, April 16, 2015

James Falzone at Chicago Cultural Center

Chicago Cultural CenterMonday lunchtime I was at the Chicago Cultural Centre for James Falzone's solo concert "Sighs Too Deep For Words." 

I only managed to snap one picture before the battery died and it doesn't do the room justice. It's a very cool space that's suited to solo woodwinds.

Falzone doesn't rely on pyrotechnic displays of virtuosity to carry the concert (that's not to say he isn't a fine instrumentalist) but he always keeps the listener engaged. One way he does that is by providing plenty of sonic variety. Falzone spent most of his time on Bb Clarinet, but he also played Eb sopranino clarinet as well as bells, singing bowls, shurti box, launeddas (a reed instrument from Sardinia) and another (unidentified) wooden flute/whistle.

I thought it was a well constructed program. He could have easily stretched out "Sighs" for the entire set but instead played four works that offered plenty of variety yet managed to hang together pretty well. Steve Reich's "New York Counterpoint" was performed along with Falzone's recording of the work (it's a piece for multiple clarinets). And, in addition to the solo pieces, Bassist/Vocalist Katie Ernst joined in for two pieces - "There Is No Such Thing As Nostalgia" (inspired by the work of Archibald Motley - currently on show at the Cultural Center) and Duke Ellington's "Come Sunday."

It was my second time hearing Falzone play solo and it was a very nice way to spend a Monday lunchtime. If you have the chance to hear him play (solo or otherwise) - take it.

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