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Paula Matthusen’s “run on sentence of the pavement” seemed to promise the delightful diversion of a grand piano played, in part, by ping-pong balls bouncing around the piano’s inside. It was that, but much more — an encyclopedic reminder that a composer who knows how to listen can find music in the most amazing places.
The concert began arrestingly with Portable by Paula Matthusen, performed by eight people, each toting a specially designed radio receiver or transmitter encased in a vintage suitcase, filing around a la Phil Kline’s Unsilent Night in what would have been total darkness except for the players’ flashlights.
Paula Matthusen’s vivid imagination was evident from the first sound heard during a concert of her works at Roulette in SoHo on Saturday night...
A pleasant surprise in the Sunday morning program [for the Tanglewood Festival of Contemporary Music] was Paula Matthusen’s piece, ‘of memory and minutiae’ (2006), a plaintive, haunting setting of a Norwegian prayer that fragments further with each repetition.
Paula Matthusen cleans ears with her electroacoustic music. Her use of resonating materials and clear sounds penetrates the space in a variety of patterns.
Matthusen’s music goes beyond the experimental and invites the audience to engage emotionally.
The whispering, scratching, plinking, and sighing of her “run-on sentence of the pavement” for piano, Ping-Pong balls, and electronics, has an oddly sad, entrancing effect, especially when the stream of noise coalesces into slivers of song.