"Two and a half stars
Hilbert Circle Theatre Wood Room; Oct. 2
The Ronen Chamber Ensemble’s first program of the season ostensibly honored women, both performers and composers — though males of each pursuit got included in the mix. A well-filled Wood Room was first confronted with Rapid Fire of 1992 by contemporary Jennifer Higdon. I say “confronted” rather than treated because Higdon offers nothing but a flute-played representation of inner-city violence, together with its infliction of pain, disbelief, fear and terror. Flutist Cheryl Riggle did her best with material consistently ugly and not fit to be called music — as it offered no emotion but disgust. Next came the one male composer and doublebassist extraordinaire Giovanni Bottesini (1821-1889), with the one male player, David Bellman, clarinetist, together with bassist Ju-Fang Liu and pianist Sylvia Scott-Peterson in his Duetto for Clarinet, String Bass and Piano. This was an agreeable Romantic work with excellent bass playing by Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra principal Liu. Local pianist/composer Becky Archibald lent a hand (or rather two) to a performance debut of her new work Seriously Blue for Flute (Rebecca Price Arrensen), Clarinet (Bellman) and Piano. Her stated attempt was to avoid jazzy elements, which failed but which was no less interesting for it. An attractive Quintet No. 1 for Piano, Violin, Viola, Cello and bass by early Romantic, Louise Farrenc (1804-1875), ended the program.