Music: Atonal Choir

The singers looked like refugees from a college prom—the girls in powder blue tunics and the men in white dinner jackets. With their chubby-faced leader, they seemed in direct line of descent from Fred Waring and his Pennsylvanians. But the music the Gregg Smith Singers performed last week at the avant-garde Contemporary Music Festival at Darmstadt, Germany, was as tortuously difficult as any being written. After listening to the visitors soar with uncanny ease through the continuing complexities of Schonberg, Krenek and Ives, Darmstadt Director Wolfgang Steinecke paid a rare tribute: the group...

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