Having never heard my friend Amelia perform live before, I was excited to hear Trio KAVAK play, as part of the Ear Heart Music series, last Thursday at The Tank.  This was also my first time experiencing the combination of flute, viola, and harp, and I was struck by how smoothly those timbres fit together.  Trio KAVAK played beautifully, executing all manner of extended techniques and tricky stratospheric unison-playing with poise.  The concert opened with Toru Takemitsu’s colorfully diffuse “And then I knew ’twas wind” [you can hear clips from the concert in the video above].  Next came the US premiere of Simon Holt’s reconditely dramatic The other side of silence [1:28 in the video].  Throughout its three movements, the registral extremes of the instruments were explored, and gradually the trio became a duo (viola and harp), and finally a vigorous solo (viola).  During the intermission, three of the night’s composers took the stage for a brief discussion, where Simon explained, “If the listener is with you, you can do almost anything.  You don’t always have to throw information at them.”

Next came “Question,” by Trio KAVAK’s own Victor Lowrie [3:23 in the video], a rhythmic piece in which Victor strummed his viola like a guitar, while Amelia Lukas (flute) and Kathryn Andrews (harp) played ethereal melodic fragments that breezed in and out of the minimalist viola texture.   Last on the program was Andrew McKenna Lee’s “the dark out of nighttime” [4:30 in the video], whose title comes from a Bob Dylan song.  Andrew joined the trio on guitar to create a kaleidoscopic soundscape.

See a full-length video of the first movement of the Simon Holt piece here.