“The perpetually undervalued French composer Betsy Jolas is … a musician more known about than known,” writes Joshua Kosman in Tuesday’s (3/12) San Francisco Chronicle. “At 92, she’s still composing music of ethereal grace and imagination. Two of Jolas’ recent works formed the centerpiece of an engaging program of contemporary chamber music presented by Cal Performances on Sunday… The main offering was ‘Femme le soir Woman in the evening,’ a collection of eight short pieces for cello and piano… The music draws on an unorthodox collection of influences, including Renaissance polyphony, French impressionism and some of the more humane strands of late European modernism … full of expressive ardor especially in the exquisitely beautiful final song. [Pianist Nicolas] Hodges and [cellist Anssi] Karttunen, who premiered the work in December, gave it a magnificent and loving performance. Also from last year came ‘Toi x 3,’ a shapely trio of piano pieces that Hodges delivered in all its eloquent splendor. The afternoon’s chief lesson … was the importance of getting Jolas’ work back into the repertoire where it belongs. What are we waiting for?” Also on the program were works by Esa-Pekka Salonen and Kaija Saariaho.

Posted March 15, 2019