Stories » Nadia Shpachenko premieres a remarkable lineup of 10 new works on 'The Poetry of Places' / San Francisco Chronicle

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Nadia Shpachenko premieres a remarkable lineup of 10 new works on 'The Poetry of Places' / San Francisco Chronicle

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It's all too easy to think of music as disembodied sound. But of course music exists within a physical space and often interacts with its surroundings in both its execution and its inspiration. In "The Poetry of Places," the gifted and versatile pianist Nadia Shpachenko premieres a remarkable lineup of 10 new works written in response to specific locations – some geographical, some architectural.

It's a winningly loose concept, and the music that results covers a wonderfully diverse stylistic range, from the disruptive shifts of tone in Andrew Norman's "Frank's House" – a witty tribute to Frank Gehry for two pianos and percussion – to the psychedelic whizzing and swooshing of Lewis Spratlan's "Bangladesh."

In between come a collection of other delights, including a beautiful porcelain creation by Amy Beth Kirsten involving a toy piano and childlike crooning, and Hannah Lash's tender "Give Me Your Songs," written during a residency in Aaron Copland's home. To be frank, the thematic consistency turns out to be less interesting than the compositional voices on display, and the technical flair and expressive commitment that Shpachenko brings to all of it.

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