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The Boston Globe


Music Review

Wintry, and warmer, sounds from Dinosaur Annex

CAMBRIDGE — “Winter Fancies,” Dinosaur Annex’s Sunday concert at Harvard, had plenty of atmosphere, though not much of it was stereotypically wintry. Then again, winter itself isn’t always very wintry anymore, in ways the program matched: provocative juxtapositions of brisk cold and disconcerting warmth, inclement and calm. Given the changes in culture and style the new-music group has weathered over 38 seasons, why not an accounting for a change in climate?

The most atmospheric piece was a premiere: “In Thin Air,” by Yu-Hui Chang (also the group’s co-artistic director). The music starts high, busy, quietly but anxiously intense: Gabriela Diaz’s violin skittering through harmonics, percussionist Robert Schulz shadowing with bristling metallic rolls, Donald Berman gathering icy chords from the top of the piano keyboard. A middle movement brings the violin down to warmer, lower strings; in the finale, anchored by richer piano chords, the violin again ascends, but to repeat a kind of broken-chord mantra, before fading into a distant, bright haze. It’s a bewitching piece, impulsive but cogent, elusive but enveloping.

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