The Boston Musica Viva and Concert Dance Company (CDC) devote themselves to playing and dancing, respectively, the works of contemporary artists. Their joint concert Friday night at Jordan Hall was a meeting of minds, but a casual one, After the tuxedoed music director, Richard Pittman, explained the program, he turned around and cheerully helped move the piano.
In Meg Harper's dance "Upon Dreaming of the Death of the White Buffalo," performed to "Ariadnemusic" (by Minnesota compser Eleanor Hovda), the dancers seemed to be working independently of each other and of the music. Different groups moved on their own like people in a crowd who don't know what the others are doing. But there were moments when everyone would begin to rise simultaneously. The dancers seemed to fall in and out of patterns either by mistake or by an agreement they took for granted. You never knew when they'd form a pattern or when it would dissolve. It was a dance of mystery.
Boston choregrapher Martha Armstrong Gray's "Bitter Scent," set to Dutch composer Theo Loevendie's "Six Turkish Folkpoems," was a nervous, bolting affair. Everyone paired up, ballroom style, and then fled for other partners, arms outstretched as if the change would save their lives. They slpit and changed several times, at the same intense pitch. At the end they sat down, then lunged up from their chairs while looking back ruefully.
The rich voice of soprano Jane Manning, slowly exploring an angular tune, hovered over the action beautifully. CDC shifted styles cleanly, and the music was memorable, even to a dance fan who sometimes gets so involved in the action she forgets to listen.