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March 5, 2010     Post-Gazette
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March 5, 2010

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POST-GAZETTE, MARCH 5, 2010 Page 5 Ralph Towner & Paolo Fresu AT THE REGATTABAR Ralph Towner: Baritone and 12-string Guitars- Paolo Fresu: Trumpet and Flugelhorn Chiaroscuro introduces a new duo and a rare instrumental combination - trumpet and acoustic guitar. The repertoire: a pro- gram of old and new Ralph Towner composi- tions and duo improvisations, plus an old Miles Davis favorite, its presence a key to the musical priorities at work here. The album was recorded in October 2008 in Udine, but the story of the Towner/Fresu alliance really begins further South, at a festival in Sardinia 15 years ago. Towner was commissioned to write music for a local ensemble. Fresu was its trumpeter. "I didn't know him at all then," Ralph re- calls, "but from the very first phrase that he played, I thought "This guy really under- stands melodies! And I thought there and then that we should do some more work together." The composition played that night, "Punta Giara," resurfaces here in rearranged form, along with pieces shaped especially for this album, including the title track, a study in strong contrasts. The atmospheric "Sacred Place," heard in two versions, and "Doubled Up" bring Towner's new baritone guitar to the fore. Tuned a fifth below his classical concert guitar it allows him new flexibility in the low range, and the freedom to be, effectively, his own bassist on the clever "Doubled Up," the most overtly jazz-like of the new tunes. "Doubled Up" has many meanings, of course, including doubled up with laughter. Here the theme is sequenced, so to speak, the events hap- pen twice, each theme 'doubled' by the two players." Two pieces from Ralph's ECM back- catalogue are revisited: "Wistful Think- ing (originally heard as a solo piece on Open Letter, in 1992), and "Zephyr" (first scored for the band Oregon on 1987's Ecotopia). Of the subtle account of "Blue In Green," Towner says. "I'd always wanted to do that song with a trumpet." Paolo Fresu's clear, vibrato-less sound acknowledges its debt to Miles. Fresu has always been forthright about his formative influences (his bold re- making of Porgy and Bess in 2001 being a case in point). For Towner, as for so many musicians, Kind of Blue was a pivotal re- cording: "The whole ensemble was amazing, but especially Miles and the great Bill Evans working together -- my favorite musicians of all time, in the improvising sphere." "Chiaroscuro" concludes with "Two Min- iatures" and "Postlude," improvisations that put the spotlight on the 12-string guitar, extending an approach that had worked well on Ralph's solo albums Anthem and Time Line. "I like to do these free things -- well 'free' is really a misnomer. The same com- positional process is at work, but you only get one shot at it." The show will be held on March 23, 2010. For more infowmation www. regattabar, com. MODELING DEVOTION Terracotta Sculpture of the Italian Renaissance Benedetto da Maiano, John the Baptist, ca. 1480, painted terracotta. In Italy during the Renais- sance (around 1400 to 1600), an innovative form of sculp- ture was developed using fine clay that was modeled before being fired in a kiln. Called terracotta in Italian (mean- ing baked earth), this type of sculpture has often been overlooked in favor of sculp- ture carved in marble or cast NOW THROUGH MAY 23, 2010 in bronze. Clay can be handled easily with material added, removed, or textured as required. This freedom allowed artists to capture Fine details and emotional ex- pression. Moreover, terraeotta sculp- ture of the Renaissance was almost always painted or glazed in naturalistic colors. Figures were often life-sized, three-dimensional, and fully colored, giving terracotta sculpture a remarkable im- mediacy. For large works, separate figures were often fired separately and then as- sembled. In both religious scenes meant to inspire the faithful, as well as in portraits that recorded individual likeness, the naturalism of colored terracotta works conveyed emotions with great power. Isabella Gardner acquired several terracotta sculp- tures, including large multi- figured compositions;. Modeling Devotion Pro- grams: Exhibition pa-ograms offer more ways to eagage in art and ideas at the Gardner. Explore themes with scholars or drop by the gallery for talks on weekend afternoons. Special Exhibition Gal- lery Talks: Saturdays and Sundays at 12:00pn. Free with museum admis;sion. A Closer Look: Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 1:30- 5:00pm. This special after- noon program will include focus talks on terracotta sculpture from the Italian Renaissance along w4ith ac- tive looking and smaJl group discussions in the glalleries. 1:30-3pm: Focus Talks by Marietta Cambareri,. Valen- tine Talland and Alan Chong. 3-4pm: Group Discussion in the Galleries. 4-5pm: Dessert and coffee in The Gardner Caf6. For more information log onto FOR ALL YOUR INSURANCE NEEDS AUTO * HOMEOWNERS * TENANTS LIFE * HEALTH BUSINESS GROUP Experience makes the difference WE PROMISE TO MEET OR IMPROVE YOUR PRESENT POLICY COVERAGE AT AFFORDABLE RATES CALL TODAY FOR YOUR QUOTE 617-523-3456 1 Longfellow - Place Suite 2322 - Boston, MA 02114 Matteo Civitali, Virgin and Child, ca. 1480, painted terracotta. BRILLIANT ITALIAN BAROQUE: Passionate Vivaldi and a Regional Premiere Join Musicians the Old Post Road on March 27 and 28 for Virtuosi Italiani, a program of brilliant vocal and instrumental works. The con- certs will include Vivaldi's fiery motet In turbato mare, and his can- tata All' ombra di sospetto with so- prano Kristen Watson, who made her Old Post Road debut last December to criti- cal and audience acclaim. Also fea- tured will be the regional premiere of Pietro Nardini's Flute Concerto in D Major, with soloist Suzanne Stumpf, and lively sinfonias by Sammartini and Locatelli. Tickets may be purchased online at This concert is dedicated to the memory of long-time Old Post Road supporter and volunteer, Joanne Hall. Wife of Musicians of the Old Post Road Board vice-presi- dent, Charles Hall, Joanne was a dedicated volunteer who assisted with clerical work in the Old Post Road office for many years as well as helping out at concerts where she was a joyful presence. Performances will take place on Saturday, March 27, 8 pm, at Emmanuel Church, 15 Newbury Street in Boston; and on Sunday, March 28, 4 pm, at First Unitarian Church, 90 Main Street in Worcester. ( LUCIA RISTORANTE & BAR Traditional Italian Cuisine Donato Frattaroli 415 Hanover Street, Boston, MA 02113 61 7.367.2353 -- Open for Lunch and Dinner Daily -- Private dining rooms for any occasion J