Critic’s Choice

Thu Mar 19, 2015 at 5:18 pm

Michael Finnissy is one of the finest contemporary composers, and his music is almost impossible to hear performed in New York. That changes this Sunday when Collide-O-Scope Music, with pianist Augustus Arnone, present a four-day Finnissy retrospective at Spectrum. This is one of the notable events of the season.

Finnissy himself will be on hand to both play and talk about his music, which is an expressive, dramatic extrapolation of the likes of Liszt and Ives. His sizable catalogue of compositions includes his own completion of Mozart’s Requiem, transcriptions and rearrangements of Verdi, Grieg and Gershwin, adaptations of folk music, and completely original works. His roots are in the classical tradition, as deep as any other composer’s, and his music strives for transcendence through both density and lyricism.

There will be world premieres at each concert. Finnissy, Collide-O-Scope, Arnone, and the International Contemporary Ensemble will play his haunting miniature piano concerto, WAM, selections from his magnum opus The History of Photography in Sound, his chamber piece Runnin’ Wild, and much more.

“Michael Finnissy, A Retrospective,” begins 6 p.m. Sunday and continues through March 25.

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