East & West Transcended

The Apollo Chamber Players, winners of a 2014 Houston Press Masterminds Award, present “East and West Transcended.” The concert showcases the French Impressionist movement and the reaction it sparked in Japanese music. “One of the ideas we wish to explore in this program is how composers from different countries — different hemispheres, in fact — influence one another,” said Matthew Detrick, artistic director, co-founder and violinist for the Apollo Chamber Players.

“The connections between French Impressionist and Japanese composers have been fairly well researched, but we hope to illustrate composers transcending the boundaries of their respective countries in the creation of new music.” The program includes works by French composers Debussy and Ravel along with Japanese composers Rentaro Taki, Hitomi Komatsu and Toru Takemitsu. There’s also a world premiere of “Splash of Indigo,” a commissioned work by American composer Marty Regan, who has written extensively for Japanese instruments and explored Japanese idioms throughout his career.

Regan’s piece specifically looks at the intersection between French and Japanese musical traditions. “Inspired by a workshop in indigo design and dyeing taken in Japan, ‘Splash of Indigo’ explores the intersections between Japanese folk music and French Impressionism filtered through a distinct American sensibility,” said Regan.“One of the goals in this work is to transcend and blur musical boundaries while celebrating the similarities and potential correspondences between disparate musical traditions. The overall effect is quite subtle as various musical languages are fused together into one hybrid musical vision.”

The work by Taki, “Moon Over Ruined Castle,” is a particularly important bridge between Western and Japanese music, as it was the first Japanese equivalent of the lied, or art song. “At our concert, listeners should definitely hear impressionist qualities in the Japanese works, particularly in Takemitsu’s ‘Between the Tides’ piano trio,” said Detrick. “This work was written very late in the composer’s life, and you can hear the unmistakable influence of his French composer counterparts. The music is evocative, undulating and intriguingly multihued.”

6 p.m. Sunday; 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Christ the King Lutheran Church, 2353 Rice Boulevard. For information, visit apollochamberplayers.org. $30.
Sun., Jan. 11, 6 p.m.; Tue., Jan. 13, 7:30 p.m., 2015

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Alexandra Doyle