"I don't play Bach," says guitarist Michael Partington. He speaks firmly, with conviction and without disdain or condescension. "Do you know the old teacher's joke?" he asks, with a hint of mischief. "Everyone should know Bach, everyone should study Bach, but no one should play Bach." Partington adds, "I stick to music that I feel suits the instrument. I prefer pieces written specifically for the guitar."

For a classical guitarist, the statement verges on heresy. Due to the advocacy of Andrés Segovia, J. S. Bach—or, more accurately, transcriptions of Bach—has remained an obligatory staple of guitar concerts for decades. Yet Partington's view, one cognizant of the solo guitar repertory's considerable growth in recent years, is wise. The continual, near-mandatory presence of any single composer on any kind of concert program is a sure way to stultify the repertory.

Sponsored
Outdoor Performing Arts Festival featuring over 100 artists, food trucks, a beer garden and more!
Celebrate the return of the live arts in a safe, outdoor setting. Capitol Hill, Sep. 18-19.

Throughout our conversation, Partington, recently hired by the UW to replace retiring professor Steven Novacek, has an avowed, passionate preference for 20th-century guitar music: "There's plenty of repertory that shows off what the guitar has to offer—its gentle timbre, a lyrical nature, and an intimate sound world."

For his debut recital as UW faculty, Partington has prepared a slew of alluring music, including three movements from Astor Piazzolla's Las Cuatro Estaciones Porteñas, Toru Takemitsu's Equinox, the Tres Piezas Españolas of Joaquín Rodrigo, and Rossiniane no. 3, a potpourri of Rossini themes by Mauro Giuliani. I'm especially interested in Takemitsu's wistful Equinox, which Partington agrees is "magical."

As a performer, the guitarist is matter-of-fact and eschews histrionics. "My role is to entertain people," acknowledges Partington, "but my mission is to make them love the guitar." recommended

Hear Michael Partington in recital Sun Oct 7 (Brechemin Auditorium, School of Music Building on the UW Campus, 685-8384), 7:30 pm, $10.

Concerts

Thurs 10/4

BYRON SCHENKMAN

A stellar pianist and former codirector of Seattle Baroque, Schenkman plays music by Haydn and Mozart as well as Schumann's "Arabesque" and the "Danzas Argentinas" of Alberto Ginastera. Bertha Knight Landes Room at Seattle City Hall, 600 Fourth Ave, 684-7171, noon—1 pm, free.

SEATTLE SYMPHONY

I'm baffled by the persistence of Robert Schumann's face-slappingly dull symphonies in the repertory; I love the German master's chamber music, but his orchestral works put me to sleep. Here, Schwarz and the symphony sally through Schumann's stodgy Symphony No. 2. The first half of the program is very worthwhile: Stravinsky's jolly Suite from Pulcinella and Béla Bartók's Violin Concerto No. 1 with violinist Kyoko Takezawa. Also Fri Oct 5 and Sat Oct 6 at 8 pm. Benaroya Hall, 200 University St, 215-4747, 7:30 pm, $17—$110.

FLUTE FORCE

Why don't flutists form quartets? Their counterparts who play stringed instruments (violin, viola, cello) enjoy the advantage of several centuries of repertory and the prevalence of "common," inexpensive student instruments: Alto and bass flutes don't come in cheap student models. This flute quartet premieres Silver Halo by Joseph Schwantner, The Baths of Caracalla for four alto flutes and prerecorded sound by Elizabeth Brown, and Seattle composer Roupen Shakarian's Flute Quartet. Fourth-floor Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 290-1601, 8 pm, $5—$15 sliding-scale donation.

JESSICA LURIE ENSEMBLE

NY-based saxophonist Lurie returns to front a quartet that radiates propulsive, Balkan-influenced jazz. Egan's Ballard Jam House, 1707 NW Market St, 789-1621, 9 pm, $10.

Fri 10/5

GREG SINIBALDI

One of the few bandleaders around town equally obsessed with composition and improvisation, Sinibaldi premieres Mobiles with a superb roster of musicians, including Jesse Canterbury, Mark Taylor, Tom Varner, and Geoff Harper. Fourth-floor Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 8 pm, free.

JOE LABARBERA QUINTET

A veteran of the Bill Evans Trio, this drummer helms a straight-ahead group with the fine trumpeter Clay Jenkins. You can also catch the free, open workshop rehearsal earlier in the day at noon. Kerry Hall at Cornish College, 710 E Roy, 325-6500, 8 pm, $7.50/$15.

Sat 10/6

CLARINETTISSIMO

Clarinetist Sean Osborn leads a coterie of clarinetists in works by Malcolm Arnold, Gerald Finzi, Henri Lazarus, and others, culminating in a massed clarinet choir ululating through the Beatles' "When I'm Sixty-Four." Brechemin Auditorium, School of Music Building on the UW Campus, 685-8384, 6 pm, free.

BAROQUE NORTHWEST

Violinist Tekla Cunningham and harpsichordist Jennifer Streeter augment the Baroque Northwest band for music by C. P. E. Bach, J. P. Kirnberger, and Jan Dismas Zelenka (1679—1745), whose harmonically bold works resurfaced in the 1980s after centuries of neglect. Fourth-floor Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, 4649 Sunnyside Ave N, 368-0735, 8 pm, $10—$25.

Weds 10/10

EYES AND EARS SUPERNOVA

Support The Stranger

Accompanying an evening of experimental films, Arachnid Arcade and Garek Druss join forces with the fiercest free improvising combo in town, Walrus Machine. Bring earplugs. Northwest Film Forum, 1515 12th Ave, 800-838-3006, 8 pm, $5/$8.50.

chris@delaurenti.net

Sponsored