Last week composer and oboist Pat Morehead and her husband, Phil, head of the music staff at Lyric Opera, took over the WFMT studio with some close friends and had quite a time showcasing some contemporary classical numbers on the Monday night series, Live From WFMT–hosted by Kerry Frumkin.
Phil and Pat are South Loopers and founding members of the Contemporary Chamber Ensemble CUBE. Soprano Alicia Berneche did the singing. Phil played the piano. Others played woodwinds and strings. Berneche sang a composition by Pat, which included an Italian poem written by her friend, musicologist Cathy Ann Elias.
But the number everyone got the biggest kick out of was a 2004 Dominick Argento piece called “Miss Manners on Music,” in which the composer (who was commissioned by Miss Manners’ husband to write the piece in honor of his wife) set to classical music some advice Miss Manners had given through the years on such topics as manners at a ballet, the opera, a church recital and a concert. Not to mention contemporary music: “If you boo a piece at its premier, the disapproval is assumed to be for the composer, and it is those occasions where people had such high old times in Paris and elsewhere. However, tearing up seats in the auditorium as a sign of aesthetic disapproval usually turned out to have been an historical error, marking one for future generations as a major philistine scorning composers who later turned out to be regarded as immortals. If you boo at a later performance, your comment is taken as critical of the performers.”