Ronen Chamber Ensemble 

"Music of the Americas" was its title. Twentieth century music and a performance debut was its content. The third Ronen chamber program of its four-concert season returned to the Wood Room last week, where music of this type belongs. Flutist Tamara Thweatt, pianist Richard Ratliff and percussionist Jon Crabiel joined Ronen co-founders, clarinetist David Bellman and cellist Ingrid Fischer-Bellman, in an esoterically inclined program, playing for a small complement of esoteric stalwarts. The program's only major composer was Brazilian Heitor Villa-Lobos (1887-1959); he was featured in "The Jet Whistle for Flute and Cello," showing an occasional contrapuntal, wistful interplay between the instruments. Our co-founders showed exemplary balance in this D-minor centered piece. Bellman began the program with Wilson Osborn's (1906-1979) "Rhapsody for Clarinet" - played, as Bellman announced, in the Phrygian mode (the E-to-E piano scale played on all white keys). Next came the debut piece: Common American Phrases for Clarinet, Cello and Percussion by University of Indianapolis faculty member John Berners. Its three movements featured a marimba, glockenspiel and toy drum set - all three players delivering pizzazz to a generic new work. The program closed with Fantasy Trio, Op. 26 by Robert Muczynski (b. 1929). Known for his modernist eclecticism, this American composer nonetheless put together an engaging four-movement work with distinguishing harmonic transitions. The Wood Room's intimacy embraced all four of these pieces.

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