Stave Sessions opens with yMusic, Tuesday, March 21.
The sextet yMusic has lots of possibilities. They obviously have an audience that’s willing to join them as well.
The ensemble—string players Rob Moose (violin), Nadia Sirota (viola), Gabriel Cabezas (cello), hornist CJ Camerieri (mostly trumpet on this evening), Alex Sopp (flutes), Hideaki Aomori (clarinets)—formed in 2008. They play new music—no surprise, given their instrumental make-up, which doesn’t really come with a ready-made repertory.
To open this year’s version of the Celebrity Series’ Stave Sessions at 160 Mass Ave., they ran through a pastiche set of compositions by Son Lux, Andrew Norman, Caroline Shaw, Missy Mazzoli, Chris Thile and others.
The compositions were predominantly short and sturdy, but only marginally developed. It would be hard to describe most of them with using the words “atmospheric” or “ostinato.” Still, when they had energy, it was good energy.
Caroline Shaw’s “Draft of a High-Rise,” three movements with alternating moods, had the most substance. Vaguely heraldic, or medieval, each of the movements had distinguishing marks. The middle movement might have been a scherzo, and the finale, beginning with a rising and falling melody with a touching grace note accent, works its way into an attractive canon.
Andrew Norman’s piece—I believe it was called “Music in Circles”—cleverly dissects a single scale outwardly and inwardly. Some outstanding spiccato bowing from Sirota was the virtuosic highlight of the performance.
The group played multiple compositions from Son Lux—a collective led by Ryan Lott. yMusic’s album “First” is entirely composed by the LA-based electronic composer—and it made you wish they had devoted the entire performance to that work. Their energy and familiarity shone through.
CADENCES: Nice hall—not quite sold out—for the opening of the Stave week. Terrific space for this kind of performance: casual, with some bar stools and tables (and a bar), but seating too. Too bad the balcony has a high retainer wall—would be another good place to hear the music. Visit ymusicensemble.com for the group’s compositions, including First, their latest. Impressive schedule for the group: tomorrow in Denver, two days later in Santa Monica, then April 2 for a sold-out performance at Hamburg’s new Elbphilharmonie. Stave Sessions continues through Friday evening, with Melissa Aldana (Wed.) Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society (Thurs.) and TIGUE and Innov Gnawa (Fri.) (celebrityseries.org; 617-482-6661). Shows start at 8:30. The Saturday performance of Blonde Redhead has been cancelled.