“The Bach made a felicitous pairing with Jessie Montgomery’s “Rounds,” a work scored for similar forces and premiered earlier this year. In her comments from the stage, Montgomery, who is also a violinist, explained that she has played a lot of chamber music with Pratt over the years, and came to think of “Rounds,” her first work for piano, as less of a concerto than as an extension of their ongoing chamber music.
Inspired by patterns in nature, from fractals to the routes of migratory birds, “Rounds” takes the form of nesting Rondos interrupted by a big virtuoso cadenza. Perhaps also inspired by Bach, the work begins with fast, motoric, pattern-based lines in the solo part, set against broad, emphatic ensemble writing in the strings. Montgomery keeps the listener’s ear alert and engaged, with subsequent sections built around a sequence of striking, deeply gnarled chords, or quietly drawn gossamer textures from the strings. Her music has a narrative flair and structural clarity that allowed the audience, so it seemed, to follow her every step of the way. Pratt’s imaginative, boldly profiled playing was the icing on the cake.”Online Version