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In with the new

Clarence-born soprano Laura Aikin has starred in “Der Rosenkavalier” at the Metropolitan Opera. She recently sang the part of Lulu in Alban Berg’s “Lulu” at La Scala in Milan. On Tuesday, she is going to tackle what promises to be one of her greatest challenges: a new song cycle by the University at Buffalo’s David Felder.

Felder’s song cycle is titled “Les quatre temps cardinaux,” after a poem by the tragically short-lived French poet Rene Daumal. Woven into the piece is other poetry, by such poets as Dana Gioia and Pablo Neruda. Poignantly, Felder has included “Spring Light” and “Buffalo Evening” by the late Buffalo poet Robert Creeley, his friend and colleague.

Aikin is joined in the cycle by the noted bass Ethan Herschenfeld. Accompanying them will be Ensemble Signal and UB’s Slee Sinfonietta. Felder is a painter in pure sound. His creations are always unpredictable: a rumble could come from the back of the hall, words and syllables can be stretched or distorted, the lights could go out, nobody knows. He has designed this song cycle, a commission from the Koussevitzky Foundation, to take the audience through a single day and stretch our concept of time.

The program opens with “Tweener,” a 2010 Felder composition for solo percussion, electronics and large chamber ensemble. – Mary Kunz Goldman


“Les quatre temps cardinaux” by David Felder – When: 7 p.m. Tuesday. Where: Lippes Concert Hall in Slee Hall, UB North Campus, Amherst. Tickets: $12 advance, 15 at the door, with discounts for seniors and UB alumni and staff. Info: 645-2921.