Stories » Inbal Segev plays Dan Visconti's Tangle-Eye Concerto with dedication and intelligence / San Francisco Classical Voice

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Inbal Segev plays Dan Visconti's Tangle-Eye Concerto with dedication and intelligence / San Francisco Classical Voice

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Dan Visconti, finishing up his three-year term as Young American Composer-in-Residence with the California Symphony, has offered a departing present in the form of a cello concerto. The Symphony, under Music Director Donato Cabrera, played this work, concluding its 30th anniversary season, at the Lesher Center for the Arts in Walnut Creek on Sunday, May 7. Consolidating what he's learned over three years of workshopping his music here, Visconti looked to classical models and to a simple, lyrical inspiration: a variety of American folksongs from the Alan Lomax collection at the Smithsonian. The concerto takes its title, Tangle Eye, from one of these, a prisoner's blues song. Visconti also looked to the spiritual hymn "Shenandoah" and the Appalachian love song "Black Is the Color of My True Love's Hair" for different movements.

Impressed by soloist Inbal Segev's ability to, as Visconti puts it, find nuance in simplicity, he wrote for her a nearly ceaseless flow of through-composed melody, which she played with complete dedication and high intelligence. Regardless of where it was going, the journey was continually interesting. The concerto has few quotations from actual folksongs; what it does have is frequent evocation of folk style. Segev played sections with the kind of portamento sliding-into-notes characteristic of Anglo-American folk singers, and others with double-stop drones modeled on vocal harmonies. She switched registers like one singer trading off with another with a different range.

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