Review: No Exit at Drinko Hall at Cleveland State University

By Daniel Hathaway

No Exit’s third performance of its 2015 spring program on Monday, April 20 at Cleveland State University’s Drinko Recital Hall included a wide range of contemporary sounds and video, ranging from an almost elderly work (dating from 1994) to the first performances of newly-minted pieces. The emphasis was on electronic music, either all by itself or in combination with live performance, and there wasn’t a boring moment.

Andy Akiho’s 21 required cellist Nicholas Diodore and marimbist Luke Rinderknecht to multi-task. In addition to playing cello with his hands, Diodore was busy with an electronic loop pedal as well as a kick drum, while Rinderknecht’s foot operated a tambourine. Akiho’s program note said the piece is “rooted in traditional Trinidadian Soca rhythms” and its sequence of notes is based on the chords in the 21st bar of the fugue in J.S. Bach’s Violin Sonata No. 1 in g, BWV 1001.

On first hearing, those connections weren’t obvious, but the two musicians dispatched their parts with flair and confidence.

Eric M.C. Gonzalez’s A Concise Autobiography of Clarence Leone was the first premiere on Monday’s program. A pre-recorded audio work narrated by Ray Caspio, the autobiography is that of a fictional character who “is the CEO and co-founder of Caffsys Inc., one of the leading personal computer hardware/software manufacturers on the planet,” according to Gonzalez’s program note, which went on to cite Leone’s contributions to the industry in faux-corporate speak. It was amusing, but I didn’t quite get the point.

Pure music returned to the stage with Christopher Goddard’s 2013 duo for violin and viola entitled And Chase, an engaging work that did exactly what the program note said it would do: “It features two similar, but entirely different, instruments: the quick, agile violin and its pursuer, the slightly bulkier — yet stronger — viola. Throughout the piece’s three distinct sections, the chase gradually weaves its way up the instrumental register as the subjects steadily approach one another. In the end, it’s a dead heat…” 

Read the rest of the review at
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