No kid on Christmas morning ever unwrapped her presents with more infectious glee than flutist Claire Chase displayed during her mostly solo performance marathon in Berkeley on Saturday, Dec. 2. The difference is that Chase loves to share her goodies with others.
You could feel the delight and excitement that inform Chase’s long-range commissioning project “Density 2036,” as she spent nearly six hours (with breaks, naturally) unveiling one new or newish flute piece after another. You could marvel at the musical and theatrical virtuosity that Chase brings to the most arcane and far-flung strains of the contemporary repertoire.
And although it’s perfectly predictable that some of these pieces would have proved to be more successful than others — and that we could disagree on which — there was no way to resist the pull of Chase’s enthusiastic advocacy for all of it. Everything she plays can feel, at least in the moment, like a musical utterance of the keenest urgency.