Cutting-edge music declared too difficult to perform was, in the past, sent to Leopold Stokowski, who didn't need to understand pieces to conduct them convincingly. Now, conservatory students such as the Curtis 20/21 ensemble pioneer the unperformable, in this case Siddhartha's Dream by David Shapiro. From the Perelman Theater stage Sunday, the composer claimed this ensemble was among the few that could hope to handle it.
Meditation music, it's not. Commissioned for the concert and presented in a laudable partnership with the Philadelphia Chamber Music Society, the piece attempts to portray the Buddha's ability to see all of mankind at once - all seven billion of us. The piece circled the world in 18 minutes, each orchestral section having a sliver of a showcase, all from different harmonic universes that have only their anarchy in common, ending with a wild piano cadenza suggesting Stravinsky on crack.