String connection

Buffalo News, The

After an unusually long gestation period that began in the early 19908, a National Endowment for the Arts commission will finally result in the birth (read "world premiere performance") of ''Forever Escber" by Paul Chihara. On the big stage of the Chautauqua Amphitheater at 8:15 p.m. Thursday for this special event will be the Amherst Saxophone Quartet and Arcata String Quartet.

Yes, you read that right. Chihara's new work is for an ensemble of four strings and four saxophones, which is unusual, but not unique. The Amherst Saxophone Quartet has previously premiered two other works for the same instrumentation, Michael Sahl's "Storms" and Nils Vigeland's "Classical Music." Am Sax spokesman Stephen Rosenthal says "Forever Escher" is.''welI-written music which really tries to communicate with the audience. I think most listeners will find it as gratifying as a good meal."

It's a four-movement work with allusions to Debussy's "Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun." Rosenthal is not sure how discernible they will be to the audience. "I do know," he added "that they'll be able to hear my debut on the crotales. Chihara added a passage for these small antique cymbals to give a different, delicate texture to the last movement. to American composer Paul Chihara was in Seattle in 1938 and, by pure coincidence, turns 61 today. He claims influences as diverse as having studied with Nadia Boulanger in 1962-63 and arranging the stage musical version of Duke Ellington's "Sophisticated Ladies" (1981).
—Herman Trotter

Forever Escher (for String Quartet & Saxophone Quartet), Paul Chihara