Review: Contempo series begins on an absurd note

The 52nd season of Contempo, the University of Chicago's new music collective, began Friday night at the Reva and David Logan Center for the Arts with an exceptional program by any standard.

The works by German, British and American composers gave nearly a four-decade overview of instrumental theater pieces that are rarely performed because of how the musicians must play and function as actors at the same time.

Six instrumentalists from the New York-based Talea Ensemble were joined by a baritone and mime and given stage direction that frequently recalled responses to the Theater of the Absurd. Results ranged from gently stimulating to aggressively wearying.

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