CalArts Anurans to perform ‘Concerto for Active Frogs’

A few of the CalArts Anurans | Photo by Anne LeBaron

On Saturday (May 14) the CalArts Anurans ensemble will perform Anne LeBaron’s Concerto for Active Frogs at the first Hear Now Festival in Venice, Calif.

The piece was first performed and recorded in 1975 in Tuscaloosa, Ala., and is scored in a graphic format, for solo male voice, mixed chorus, percussion, two solo instrumentalists and a “collage of recordings of frog vocalizations.”

LeBaron, composition faculty of The Herb Alpert School of Music at CalArts, writes in the program notes:

The piece was inspired by ‘Voices in the Night,’ a recording of frog and toad vocalizations made by a Texas herpetologist that I discovered (along with Stockhausen’s ‘Zeitmasse’) one steamy night, perusing the card catalog in the University of Alabama music library. When large breeding aggregations of frogs assemble, their sexual excitement peaks… The more striking [frog] sounds chosen for the Concerto come from such warning chirps / croaks and screams. In Concerto for Active Frogs, interactions among the soloist, the chorus, the instrumentalists, and the territorial cries of the frogs create a festive atmosphere, redolent of a damp, warm dusk coming alive with voices of the night.

Excerpt from “Concerto for Active Frogs”

The Hear Now Festival–produced by Hugh Levick, and curated by Levick, William Kraft, Douglass Dutton and the Lyris Quartet–is the first festival of new music dedicated to presenting works by Los Angeles composers. And on Saturday, the festival promises a program of vibrant work  performed by both noted soloists and chamber musicians in southern California.

There are two concerts at 2 pm and 8 pm. Concerto for Active Frogs will be performed at the latter concert.

Hear Now Festival
Saturday, May 14,
The First Lutheran Church of Venice
815 Venice Blvd., 90291 (3 blocks west of Lincoln)
Tickets: $20 for a single concert, $30 for both (students and seniors: $12 for one, $18 for both)

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