OF TIME AND BREATH delves deeply into poetic thoughts and feelings about the passage of time and the experience of life’s breath, but even more than that is a program to be directly experienced. All five pieces provoke strong and very physical empathetic reactions in the attentive listener: The “pieces” and “interludes” in Cage’s “Music for Three” free us from a conventional perception of time. Theodore Wiprud’s “Sirens’ Song” is in every sense music of time and breath, singer and flutist breathing together, evoking a sensation from across the ages. The enchanting flute and vocal melodies and the percussion stones Brian Schober’s “Song of Water Clock at Night,” settings of poems by the 9th century Chinese Wen T’ing-yün, conjure up scenes of antiquity which all the same purvey the immediacy of “now.” Lachenmann’s “temA,” a monumentally pivotal work of the 20th century and certainly one of the most complex and most difficult of that time, deals with breath itself. A complete overlapping of breathing processes and sound productions of all three musicians takes place, a phenomenon which has a strong empathetic effect on the listener. Alice Shield’s “Komachi at Sekidera,” based on a Japanese Noh play of the 14th century, tells us about Ono no Komachi, a woman of the Heian court of the 9th century, famous for her poetry and her beauty and becoming a legend after her death. In Shields’ piece, Komachi has lived into old age, beyond her beauty and her literary fame, and has been forgotten and she is confronted with age and mortality.