The first piece, Mr. Biedenbender’s “Red Vesper,” stole the show. Spacious and ceremonious, the work is inspired by national parks in the American West, where the Wisconsin-born composer would often go for reflection and meditation.
His experimentation with sound was like a true nocturnal Western adventure. The piece started with flute mimicking the whistle of the wind or an animal, accompanied by electronic nature sounds, violin, cello, clarinet and piano. The work’s polyphonic writing brought out the timbre and melody of each instrument. Slow but methodical at first, it crescendoed into a vesperal epiphany and steadily drew to a close as the creatures and instruments each fell asleep. The end result was a nature’s hymn to the wild.