Like much of Higdon's music, it tends to fall prey to easy emotionalism,
particularly in the schmaltzy "Nocturne." But where Higdon's spirits run high, the effects are crisp and venturesome. In the matched pair of outer movements, piano notes on muted strings play chase-me-Charlie with violin pizzicatos; another movement, "Maze Mechanical" (which Koh suggested was inspired by John Adams' "Road Movies"), is still wittier and more breathless.
Also on SFist, the star blogging team of M. C— and SFMikereviewed the bizarre Chinese New Year Spectacular founded by Falun Gong practitioners. Their report was excellent but I admit I skipped the 109 comments about Chinese cultural and religious freedom that followed. Wikipedia elaboborates on the general disagreement (the political disagreement in China that is; not any between the reviewers):
Despite market reforms, the Communist Party of China remains in sole control, requiring the registration and supervision of all civic organizations. The CPC suppresses groups that it claims are threats to social stability and national unity, such as Falun Gong and the separatist movement in Tibet. Supporters of these policies claim that they safeguard stability in a society that was torn apart by class differences and rivalries, has no tradition of civil participation, and limited rule of law. Opponents claim that these policies severely curtail human rights and that they have resulted in a police state, creating an atmosphere of fear and ignorance.
Speaking of Jennifer Higdon, I'm neither particularly a concerto guy nor argumentative but her chamber music piece Zaka, leading off the new eighth blackbird CD on Cedille Records, intrigues on first listen. I like the energy and the quiet interludes and I'm starting to realize she really knows how to write for specific instruments (as opposed to just being good at orchestration). Generation X John Adams on fast forward with a hint of complexity in the flute?
zaka: To do the following almost simultaneously and with great speed: zap, sock, race, turn, drop, sprint. See also: eighth blackbird.