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The Salty Cricket Composers Collective presented an evening of bite-size works from 10 contemporary Utah composers Friday. Some of the pieces were instantly digestible, while others offered more to chew on. Together, they made for a savory buffet.
Vocal music dominated the menu. Tenor Brian Stucki had a full plate of highly virtuosic music to sing and handled it all with apparent ease. Evan Witt's "A Measuring Worm," a wry little tale with a tidy moral at the end, led into Neil Thornock's "Fabliau of Florida," which showcased the tenor's impressive range. Stucki also performed Christian Asplund's "4 Settings From the Red Brick Hymnal," an evocative interpretation of four verses from the book of Isaiah.
Pianist Erika Garnica was the other hero of the evening, accompanying most of the singers and playing solo works by composers Crystal Young-Otterstrom and John Newman. Gary Gerber performed his paradoxically titled piano piece, "Nonexistent."
Baritone M. Ryan Taylor sang Michael Hicks' settings of Marshall Schacht's "The First Autumn" and the "Angel's Song" from the Gospel of Luke. Taylor and David W. Batchelor used a microphone with a reverb attachment to fine effect on two songs by Batchelor, re-creating the bigger, more resonant space for which the composer intended the songs. Soprano Venicia Wilson brought color and variety to Taylor's "The Moon Songs," an appealing song cycle based on poems by Vachel Lindsay.
But perhaps the most charming performance of the night came from Rick Mortensen, whose unpolished vocals underscored the dry self-deprecation of his songs "Explain" and "Sense of the Ridiculous."
A savory buffet of bite-size works from 10 contemporary Utah composers.
When » Friday.
Where » Rose Wagner Performing Arts Center, Salt Lake City.