The first performance last November of Ralph Shapey’s Concerto Fantastique caused quite a stir at Orchestra Hall: more than half of the audience left between movements; those who stayed to the end, however, gave a rousing ovation. Despite its shortcomings–its length and unwieldiness–the hour-long work showed the iconoclast expressionist back at the top of his form and experimenting with a new idea: piecing together deliberately rough hewn sound blocks of unconventional rhythms and exotic instrumental colors. Now two of Shapey’s other 1991 works may confirm this fascinating new direction–which includes an almost gleeful infatuation with the wide ranging percussion family. Centennial Celebration (written for 4 voices, and 12 instruments and dedicated to the University of Chicago) and Intermezzo for Dulcimer and Keyboard will both premiere in this concert by the Contemporary Chamber Players, arguably the best advocate of Shapey’s music in the past quarter century. Also included on the program are his Fantasy for Violin and Piano (1982) and String Quartet no. 6 (1963). Sunday, 8 PM, Mandel Hall, University of Chicago, 1131 E. 57th; 702-8068.

Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Jon Randolph.