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Paul Conrad/Aspen Times Weekly
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Choral musicAfter years of impressing audiences with size, power and notable masterworks at its spring concerts, the Aspen Choral Society is going for intimacy, emotion and new music. The centerpiece of this years performances is the world premiere of Aspen Songs, a six-song cycle by Ray Vincent Adams, director, conductor and composer of the local organization. The songs, to be performed by soprano Judeth Shay Burns and a chamber group, are intensely personal in nature: Spencers Song, set to a Yeats poem, is dedicated to Adams son, Spencer; another, The Longing, is set to a text by Robin Sutherland, a former player in the Choral Society Orchestra, written in memory of his late partner. Another highlight: Coplands familiar landmark Appalachian Spring, will be performed in its not-so-common original setting, for 13 instruments. And the tradition of big, choral pieces lives on, with excerpts from Mozarts Requiem, Vivaldis Gloria, and more. The concerts are Friday, March 28, at the Colorado Rocky Mountain School in Carbondale, and Saturday, March 29, at Harris Hall.

Popular musicArt Garfunkel could well have been comfortable (and then some) collecting royalty checks from his relatively brief time with Paul Simon. So while Garfunkel gets no credit for writing the Simon & Garfunkel catalog (Simon was the sole songwriter; Garfunkel contributed the singular tenor voice), give him a hand for exploring new avenues late in his career. The most recent is as interpreter of the Great American Songbook; Some Enchanted Evening, from 2007, is a conventional but accomplished tour through the music he loved before he helped break the folk-rock barrier: Gershwin, Rodgers & Hammerstein, Mercer. He even dared, in his 60s, to try his hand at song-writing, and did an admirable job with 2003s pointedly titled Everything Waits to Be Noticed. Garfunkel performs Thursday, March 27, at the Wheeler Opera House.

TheaterAspens Crystal Palace dinner theater may be old (in its 52nd year, ancient by the standards of either a theater or a restaurant), and on its last legs (founder Mead Metcalf sold the building, and the last performances are set for April 12). But on a recent night, it sure didnt feel dated or rickety. The current show is as snappy and daring as ever; a highlight is Tom Erickson as Pope Benedict XVI, trying to explain away his reference to Islam as a violent religion by repeating the phrase, those crazy Arabs. A spoof on fallen Senator Larry Craig The Minneapolis Airport Mens Room Getting to Know You Soft Shoe likewise fails to comport with political correctness. Its a shame the Palace is shutting down before they get a chance to rake Gov. Eliot Spitzers disgraced corpse over the coals. The dinner remains solid; the sentiment is starting to get thick; and it is still one of those only-in-Aspen experiences if only for three more weeks. The Palace is open nightly except Sunday.