The Oshman acoustics were very good tonight. Maybe it was the performers and their instruments. Stoltzman plays clarinet. Fisk plays guitar. Not a common combination, and the three works they played together were all arrangements: Bartok's Romanian Folk Dances, originally for piano; some Appalachian folk songs, and something by Rossini. The common feature among all of these was an improvisationary style, as if they were just making the pieces up as they went along, with a lot of abortive false turns.
Gentlemen, if we play together we shall also play separately: Fisk played his own arrangement of one of Bach's cello suites, arranged in the spirit of one of Bach's own lute suites. And Stoltzman played a solo piece that had been written for him personally, Steve Reich's New York Counterpoint for eleven clarinets all played by himself, ten on tape and one live. These were both big successes, the Reich in particular sounding wonderful, perhaps because 91% of it was coming through the sound system rather than trying to make itself heard from the acoustically deficient stage. The audience of largely elderly people had mostly not heard any Reich before and the ones I talked with all raved over how enjoyable and energetic it was. It's such a relief to have escaped from the days when "contemporary music" automatically attacked and repelled its audience, and Reich is one of the figures most responsible for the change.