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papsrus

Concerts: previews / reviews

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FEB 8 - A Soldier's Tale

Heard-Craig Center for The Arts, McKinney Tx.

Odysseus Chamber Orchestra

Choreography by Amiti Perry

Narration by somebody who has not yet been announced.

http://www.odysseuschamberorchestra.org/tickets.html

Hey, I'm game.

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Sunday afternoon:

Sarasota Orchestra

Part -- Cantus in Memoriam to Benjamin Britten

Beethoven -- Piano Concerto No. 4 (with Steven Hough)

Elgar -- Enigma Variations

Another packed house for the Sunday afternoon concert, the last of three straight performances of the same program -- Friday, Saturday, Sunday.

The Memoriam to Britten was stirring -- all strings (plus a mournful bell). The lonely ring of the bell starts this piece, which if played in a moment of true sadness, I'd end up bawling. What emerged from the sumptuous strings, with long, slow bowing technique, is a solemn descent into wrenching mournfulness. It's a sad piece. Beautifully played. Loved it.

The Beethoven concerto was fine, but came off a little choppy, a little unfocused perhaps, or tired. I don't know exactly what it was but it lacked the pizazz I'd hoped for, or anticipated. Clinical, maybe. Technically fine, I'd guess, but emotionally just not there. Kind of like, "I'm playing the flashy bits now. Strings you're next."

The Enigma Variations followed intermission. These were excellent. You can sense when the music is beginning to really grab the audience -- and as I've mentioned before, particularly the quite elderly audience typical of the hall here. They become noticeably more attentive. Such was the case with these tributes to 14 of Elgar's friends. I'll have to listen to these more closely, but Variation IX (Nimrod) certainly stood out, among others. Very pleased with the orchestra's hold on these.

-------------------

Sunday night:

The last of my little four-day binge may have been the most beautiful.

Adrian Anantawan, violin; Amy Yang, piano.

Mozart -- Sonata for Violin and Piano in F major

Brahms -- Sonata No. 1 for Violin and Piano in G major, Op 78

Intermission

Ravel -- Sonata for Violin and Piano, No. 2 in G major

Held at the Historic Asolo Theatre, which I've mentioned before. A charming little place perfect for these kinds of recitals.

Historic-Asolo-2006_forweb.jpg?itok=WNEt

I was in the first little slightly elevated tier, front row, center. Perfect seats in this venue.

Because of the Super Bowl, it was lightly attended, which was fine. Anantawan and Yang have been playing together for about 10 years, Yang said. This concert was part of the Artist Series Concerts that have grown here over the last 15 years from soirees held in private homes to what they are today: out of town talent brought in for a series of concerts in this intimate, beautiful little theater.

Great acoustics, great atmosphere, rapt audience, sparkling performance.

One other thing that was special tonight I did not even notice until about halfway through the Mozart: The violin player, Anantawan, was missing his right, bowing hand; most of his arm below the elbow, actually. He had the end of the bow attached somehow to a sort of plastic fitting where his arm ended. And he played beautifully throughout. Pianissimo, forte, vibrato, the whole shooting match. Was able to pluck the strings in an amazing way, using just his left hand -- he would use his forefinger and middle finger to hold down the notes and pluck with his last two fingers. Really impressive. He and Yang had that special rapport that always yields beautiful music. A joyful performance start to finish.

So, four concerts in four days. I will enjoy revisiting over the coming weeks all of the music I've listened to the past few days.

Edited by papsrus

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That's commitment!

On another note - and this belongs on the thread on next season which I can't find at the moment - women conductors. Talk about a glass ceiling. At the Barbican next season there is precisely one orchestral performance with a woman conducting. That's Marin Alsop who has conducted here a few times and is of all women conductors the best known from recordings. That Barbican season also features compositions by four women excluding the odd song by Alma Mahler), the established Judith Bingham and three commissions from names not yet familiar to me. Hardly an avalanche. Anyway, what I am actually looking forward to next season is an LPO concert at the Festival Hall with Susanna Mälkki. She'll be conducting Liadov, Prokofiev and Sibelius 1, so hardly the modern repertoire in which she is expert, not least from a long stint with the Ensemble Intercontemporain. I don't know her records which are all über-modern...but anyway she has a growing profile, is yet another product of the Sibelius Academy, is Principal Conductor designate of the Helsinki PO, and, while this is not her first time on a London stage, will be my first time.

British orchestras now are full if women but we need to see more on the podium.

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I look forward to hearing Pieter Wispelwey performing Bach's solo cello suites in March.

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More music than I can write up at the moment, except to mention that I just heard rare outing of Enescu's Symphony No. 3. One thing to 'spin a disk', another thing to see people actually set up and do it. I won't expand, though if you ever get a chance to hear this symphony...nah, just kidding. You never will.

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Add to that the Berlin Philharmonic with Rattle in Sibelius. Keeping busy.

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submenu_grosserSaal.jpg

Attended today: ORF Radio Symphony Orchestra Vienna, Ingo Metzmacher conducting.

Aleksandra Kurzak, soprano

Ewa Wolak, contralto
Artur Ruciński, bariton

Program:

Karol Szymanowski: Konzertouvertüre E-Dur, op. 12

Witold Lutoslawski: Symphonie Nr. 4

Witold Lutoslawski: Musique funèbre
Karol Szymanowski: Stabat Mater, op. 53

These composers are rarely performed here, and being somewhat familiar with Lutoslawski's music, I was looking forward to the concert. As per tradition, I reveled in my ignorance and did not get acquainted with these particular works in advance, although I did listen to (and enjoyed) Lutoslawski's Symphonies 2 and 3.

ORF Radio is a good (but not great) orchestra, with a focus on modern repertoire. I found their sound rather thin and shallow compared to monumental Vienna Philharmonic (whom I have heard a few times in the same hall), but still good.

Szymanowski's overture was underwhelming, The piece sounded unfocused, all sounds sort of smeared, not going anywhere. Not sure if it was the piece or the performance, probably both. The strings were particularly thin on this one. Musicians looked decidedly bored. Thankfully, this was short. Then Lutoslawksi's Symphony 4 - much better. Excellent music, obviously influenced by Rite of Spirng - period Stravinsky, with a lot of percussion. Good melodies, a lot of contrasts, very lively. Well played. Musicians seemed to be more cheerful, smiling at each other - percussion players (some of whom looked very young) in particular. After a break, Musique funebre by Lutoslawski for strings only. The piece is OK, but nothing special. So was the playing. Solo players were fine, but I still had the impression the strings sounded very shallow in orchestral passages. Wonder how orchestras with thick sounds (like Münchner Philharmoniker - the loudest orchestra I have heard in Vienna!) would have fared with this piece. But then came the main thing - Szymanowski's Stabat Mater. This is a phenomenal, solemn work that was excellently performed. The Polish singers were all outstanding. During the passages where a 100-strong mixed choir would sing the effect was just overwhelming. The orchestra's playing was top notch, on a different level compared to previous pieces.

Overall, a very enjoyable experience. I also enjoyed the fact that this was an 11AM concert, natural lighting made it all a bit more casual and relaxed.

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Attended another concert. French quartet Diotima ( http://www.quatuordiotima.fr/) played Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet #3 and Boulez's "Livre pour Quatuor". First off, the quartet itself is excellent with gorgeous sound. The Harvey's work was first and I liked it a lot. It utilizes a lot of unconventional sounds (including loud unison breathing by the quartet members), but somehow is very fluid, flowing. It's a sort of detached otherworldly music (in a short - and totally superfluous, IMHO - discussion panel with the quartet afterwards the altoist implied that Harvey's Buddhism is evident in this work, and he might be on to something here). I would have loved the quartet to be longer than it was, I enjoyed it greatly.

Boulez's piece on the other hand was way too long - 45 mins or something. Apparently he's been writing / revising it for 60+ years, and it has barely been performed live due to its technical complexity and length. For me it actually sounded like a collection of licks, interesting enough for 10 minutes, but not more. I was extremely bored by the end.

Unlike most of the classical concerts here, the audience was of mixed age with average for once south of 65. Relatively cheap tickets (€20) might have played their role. Still the hall was probably 40% full, at best.

All in all, I was very impressed by the quartet (will check out their recordings, they have quite a few on naive), and will definitely explore Harvey's oeuvre.

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Attended another concert. French quartet Diotima ( http://www.quatuordiotima.fr/) played Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet #3 and Boulez's "Livre pour Quatuor". First off, the quartet itself is excellent with gorgeous sound. The Harvey's work was first and I liked it a lot. It utilizes a lot of unconventional sounds (including loud unison breathing by the quartet members), but somehow is very fluid, flowing. It's a sort of detached otherworldly music (in a short - and totally superfluous, IMHO - discussion panel with the quartet afterwards the altoist implied that Harvey's Buddhism is evident in this work, and he might be on to something here). I would have loved the quartet to be longer than it was, I enjoyed it greatly.

Boulez's piece on the other hand was way too long - 45 mins or something. Apparently he's been writing / revising it for 60+ years, and it has barely been performed live due to its technical complexity and length. For me it actually sounded like a collection of licks, interesting enough for 10 minutes, but not more. I was extremely bored by the end.

Unlike most of the classical concerts here, the audience was of mixed age with average for once south of 65. Relatively cheap tickets (€20) might have played their role. Still the hall was probably 40% full, at best.

All in all, I was very impressed by the quartet (will check out their recordings, they have quite a few on naive), and will definitely explore Harvey's oeuvre.

426b808c27.jpg

reg Harvey, this is IMO an excellent recording...

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Attended another concert. French quartet Diotima ( http://www.quatuordiotima.fr/) played Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet #3 and Boulez's "Livre pour Quatuor". First off, the quartet itself is excellent with gorgeous sound. The Harvey's work was first and I liked it a lot. It utilizes a lot of unconventional sounds (including loud unison breathing by the quartet members), but somehow is very fluid, flowing. It's a sort of detached otherworldly music (in a short - and totally superfluous, IMHO - discussion panel with the quartet afterwards the altoist implied that Harvey's Buddhism is evident in this work, and he might be on to something here). I would have loved the quartet to be longer than it was, I enjoyed it greatly.

Boulez's piece on the other hand was way too long - 45 mins or something. Apparently he's been writing / revising it for 60+ years, and it has barely been performed live due to its technical complexity and length. For me it actually sounded like a collection of licks, interesting enough for 10 minutes, but not more. I was extremely bored by the end.

Unlike most of the classical concerts here, the audience was of mixed age with average for once south of 65. Relatively cheap tickets (€20) might have played their role. Still the hall was probably 40% full, at best.

All in all, I was very impressed by the quartet (will check out their recordings, they have quite a few on naive), and will definitely explore Harvey's oeuvre.

426b808c27.jpg

reg Harvey, this is IMO an excellent recording...

I am sure it is, will check it out.

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Not a concert, but ...

Went to the Sarasota Opera performance of Marriage of Figaro last night. Enjoyed it so much I snapped up one of the few remaining tickets to see it a second time in March.

Although things seemed to start a little slow with lots of accompanied recitative as the stage was set, so to speak, for the follies that were to follow, by Act III we were solidly in soaring arias and enthralling music. I have to admit, I tend to spend a lot of time with my eyes closed just listening.

The women stole the show here IMO. Soprano Maria Antunez as Countess Almaviva made a particular impression. Strong voice that filled the house, hit all the high notes with confidence, had some lovely arias and duets with Maeve Hoglund (who also sang great in the role of Suzanna, Figaro's girl.) The other standout was Kristen Choi as Cherubino, the court page. She is a studio artist, graduating from apprentice in 2013. Not a lot on her resume, according to the program, but definitely had some strong moments in mezzo soprano. Good stage presence for the sort of slap-stick character she played. Really enjoyable.

While baritone Sean Anderson, who played the Count, has among the longest list of credits on his resume as anyone in the cast, he came off as less impressive than the two leading women, to me. Likewise Philip Cutlip as Figaro. Solid, certainly, but their voices did not impress as the sopranos did.

The audience (a packed house) was thoroughly engaged and the performers elicited plenty of laughs.

A word about the Sarasota Opera Orchestra: They are recruited each season from around the country (and a couple of members from Italy, the conductor from Germany) and come to Sarasota to play at the opera house. Many of the members keep coming back year after year; it's not uncommon to see members with between 6 and 10 years service in the orchestra. They are excellent. When engaged with an inspired singer such as Antunez, they are quite impressive.

Enjoyed it.

Edited by papsrus

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Attended another concert. French quartet Diotima ( http://www.quatuordiotima.fr/) played Jonathan Harvey's String Quartet #3 and Boulez's "Livre pour Quatuor". First off, the quartet itself is excellent with gorgeous sound. The Harvey's work was first and I liked it a lot. It utilizes a lot of unconventional sounds (including loud unison breathing by the quartet members), but somehow is very fluid, flowing. It's a sort of detached otherworldly music (in a short - and totally superfluous, IMHO - discussion panel with the quartet afterwards the altoist implied that Harvey's Buddhism is evident in this work, and he might be on to something here). I would have loved the quartet to be longer than it was, I enjoyed it greatly.

Boulez's piece on the other hand was way too long - 45 mins or something. Apparently he's been writing / revising it for 60+ years, and it has barely been performed live due to its technical complexity and length. For me it actually sounded like a collection of licks, interesting enough for 10 minutes, but not more. I was extremely bored by the end.

Unlike most of the classical concerts here, the audience was of mixed age with average for once south of 65. Relatively cheap tickets (€20) might have played their role. Still the hall was probably 40% full, at best.

All in all, I was very impressed by the quartet (will check out their recordings, they have quite a few on naive), and will definitely explore Harvey's oeuvre.

426b808c27.jpg

reg Harvey, this is IMO an excellent recording...

I am sure it is, will check it out.

I was all paid up to do a day of the Arditti Quartet last spring (one of those complete jump into the unknown days I like every now and then) - sadly the mysterious appearance of water in my ceiling the day I was meant to drive down to London put paid to that!

Harvey is a composer I've become very drawn to in the last ten years. My sister was taught by him 30 or so years back on a general music as culture course in Sussex (she was German/History, not music). You've both reminded me to dig out that quartet disc and listen to it properly.

Went to the Sarasota Opera performance of Marriage of Figaro last night. Enjoyed it so much I snapped up one of the few remaining tickets to see it a second time in March.

The Marriage of Figaro is such an enjoyable piece. A while since I've seen it on stage though it seems to come round regularly.

Look out for 'Der Rosenkavalier' (Strauss - Dicky, not Johnny) - different style but has a similar 'feel good' nature to it. And some of the most liquidly beautiful melody you'll hear this side of The Carpenters!

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Look out for 'Der Rosenkavalier' (Strauss - Dicky, not Johnny) - different style but has a similar 'feel good' nature to it. And some of the most liquidly beautiful melody you'll hear this side of The Carpenters!

Seems to be plenty of Der Rosenkavalier on Spotify, so I am starting to investigate Bev. Thanks.

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Look out for 'Der Rosenkavalier' (Strauss - Dicky, not Johnny) - different style but has a similar 'feel good' nature to it. And some of the most liquidly beautiful melody you'll hear this side of The Carpenters!

Seems to be plenty of Der Rosenkavalier on Spotify, so I am starting to investigate Bev. Thanks.

Well worth spending some time with.

On the surface it seems like a rather silly farce. But there's a wonderful rumination on moving from youth to middle age running through it. And of course, if you are susceptible to Strauss's over-the-top approach to melody and orchestration, the music is overwhelming. Seek out the 'Presentation of the Rose' scene in Act II and the final Trio and Duet from the end of Act III for tasters.

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Last evening attended a concert by the Auryn Quartet. They played Beethoven's Op.18/5 in the first half ot the program. following the intermission they played Beethoven's Op.130 and Op.133.

They were at their very best in Op.130. The small Louis Rich Theatre was completely filled, and extra chairs were added on both sides of the stage to allow more people to attend. The audience response was highly enthusiastic and the Auryn Quartet responded with an encore of an Andante from a Quartet by Haydn. I was unable to hear which specific Haydn quartet it was from.

This was another fine concert in the series put on by the Arizona Friends of Chamber Music.

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Cleveland Orchestra

Beethoven Symphony No. 3 (Eroica)

(intermission)

Shostakovich Symphony No. 6

Arsht Center, Miami

This performance was part of Cleveland Orchestra's winter residency at the Arsht Center, which in itself is an impressive, relatively new concert hall. Same guy as designed the one in Dallas. All sleek, light-toned wood and measured contours inside. A lovely acoustic.

As an added bonus there was a prelude concert before the main event featuring a piano trio performing Beethoven's Piano Trio No. 5 in D major, then a violin quartet playing Quartet for Four Violins, by Grazyna Bacewicz, the latter quite moving. Neo-Classical, I suppose, but with threads of dissonance and colliding lines as well. I will seek out some more of Bracewicz's music, for sure.

The Cleveland Orchestra's reading of Beethoven's No. 3 was precise and bold from the opening notes, as one would expect. This is my favorite of his symphonies at the moment -- for the significance of it in his own life and it's triumphant message. Musically, for all those cross rhythms in the first movement; the way he sometimes stresses the second beat -- almost jazzy. The solemn second movement that shows off the strings. The third movement that features the horns. Pretty damn thrilling and I'd guess a measure of any orchestra's abilities.

The orchestra and Franz Welzer-Most delivered all the nuances of the Shostakovich No. 6, beginning as it does so delicately and migrating from one instrument to another -- the piccolo, French horn, trumpet, etc. -- before building throughout the piece to a quite a frenzy. This piece really put the orchestra's range on display. Maybe even in a more impressive fashion than the Beethoven.

The common theme for these two pieces of music, as explained in the program, was their political significance -- Beethovan's Eroica written for, then supposedly torn to pieces in objection to, Napoleon; Shostakovich's No. 6 his response to the "just criticism" of his opera Lady McBeth of Mtsensk.

All in all, a wonderful evening of music and I'm happy to have had the chance to listen Most and his orchestra.

As a postscript, the hall, wonderful as it is, was probably just a little more than 3/4 full. Lots of open seats orchestra level scattered about. I remarked to the woman sitting next to me, a season subscriber, that I was surprised it wasn't sold out, given the reputation of the orchestra and the program. "Never is," she said. The beautiful opera house across the street that is part of the Arsht Center complex is also having some trouble attracting patrons, I believe. Or at least some funding issues as wealthy patrons head off to the great beyond. Miami needs to get its shit together when such a fine orchestra is in residence.

Edited by papsrus

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Shostakovich's No. 6 his response to the "just criticism" of his opera Lady McBeth of Mtsensk.

Not wishing to correct your homework (sorry, occupational hazard), but I think you'll find that was no. 5.

I really like 6 - very odd shape. An opening slow movement and then two quick ones.

Are you sure you weren't hearing 5? 6 is quite rare.

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Shostakovich's No. 6 his response to the "just criticism" of his opera Lady McBeth of Mtsensk.

Not wishing to correct your homework (sorry, occupational hazard), but I think you'll find that was no. 5.

I really like 6 - very odd shape. An opening slow movement and then two quick ones.

Are you sure you weren't hearing 5? 6 is quite rare.

Yes, no need to apologize at all Bev. All corrections welcome! It was the 6th; I confused it's historical context. Three movements, very quiet at the start and building to quite a frenzy. Impressive.

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Have a look for this in your library, papsrus:

51JccW%2BoKtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jp

Not intended for experts - there's no 'fly-shit'. And it doesn't get bogged down in the 'meaning' of the music. It just traces the structure of all the symphonies and concertos, signalling what is happening through reference to the instruments. Even though I've been listening to them since the 80s I've found it has greatly increased my pleasure in the music. I've been working through it since the early autumn - just did 6 a couple of weeks back as it happens.

Takes about 10-15 minutes to read the description before listening; I then follow it again as I'm listening.

Edited by A Lark Ascending

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Have a look for this in your library, papsrus:

51JccW%2BoKtL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_.jp

Not intended for experts - there's no 'fly-shit'. And it doesn't get bogged down in the 'meaning' of the music. It just traces the structure of all the symphonies and concertos, signalling what is happening through reference to the instruments. Even though I've been listening to them since the 80s I've found it has greatly increased my pleasure in the music. I've been working through it since the early autumn - just did 6 a couple of weeks back as it happens.

Takes about 10-15 minutes to read the description before listening; I then follow it again as I'm listening.

Excellent, thanks! I'll look for it.

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I should emphasize that perhaps the most revelatory takeaway from the evening was the Becewicz piece from the concert prelude. If anyone has any ideas how to proceed there, I'm all ears.

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Heard last night at the Nasher Soundings series:

Madness and Betrayal

Apart from the superficial pairing of two like ensembles, these are works that both wrestle with the most difficult of human circumstance—betrayal, madness, and suicide. Dean’s examination of the plight of Shakespeare’s Ophelia and Schoenberg’s expression of his own very painful biography in the composition of his 2nd string quartet introduce the elements of objectivity and subjectivity in how we create and experience art.

Tiffany DuMouchelle, soprano;
Anthony Marwood and Magnus Johnston, violins;
Brett Dean, viola;
Fernando Arias, cello;
Seth Knopp, piano

Dean: Intimate Decisions for solo viola
Schumann: Im wunderschönen Monat Mai, from Dichterliebe for violin and piano
Dean: “And once I played Ophelia” for string quartet and soprano

-Intermission-
Schumann: Märchenbilder for viola and piano
Schoenberg: String Quatet No. 2 for string quartet and soprano

The Dean SQ was premiered less that a year ago, the soprano was replacement who didn't get the part until the Saturday before last night, Marwood had landed at the airport @ 6 PM for a 7:30 downbeat, the floor was audibly creaking during the solo viola piece, and when the creaking stopped, some guy had a heart attack or stroke and was being removed from the room all during an extended ppp section.

An yet, or maybe because of of it, the music soared, Dean's SQ is a totally invigoration piece, and these players embraced it fearless. Full speed ahead. Not easy" music in any way, but so confidently played (and in the case of DuMouchelle, inhabited), I felt that straight to the gut punch (the welcome kind) for pretty much the duration, New music, truly new music, the challenge still in it, the players knowing it well enough to to get into it and not yet complacent enough to dare coast for even a split secong, yeah, more of THIS, everywhere, please!

No idea if a recording would capture the full grip of the live experience, but there is no recording. Hell the piece isn't eve a year old yet. And either way, seeing and DuMouchelle simultaneously, is...intense.

As for the Schoenberg, I have never fully appreciated how melodic his pieces could be until hearing them played like this, live. I been fostering a theory that part of the reason that so much serial and post-serial music had had a tendency to sounds a little "stiff" is that they players were still coming to grips with it, at least as much as the audiences. But I've also noticed that younger players and ensembles are able to take advantage of familiarity, and can now start with the music as something other than "new" and/or "difficult". This music is still a bitch, but as perfumed last night, a familiar on, not a foreign one. Again, the exhilaration of throwing themselves in to the music with no fear and coming out successful. As a result, I, the listen, was able to refocus away from the math and instead heard the music, the gorgeous melodies with harmonies moving at the speed of light, metaphorically speaking.

Whether it was the intimacy resulting from sitting less 20 feet from the players, or the genuine skill of everybody involved or the added dimension of clarity afforded by hearing the music live in what is basically a small lecture room or it just being an example of the synergy a great band playing the shit out of a great piece of all of the above, I don;'t know, but what I do know is that I left out of the gig charged, inspired, not just appreciative or satisfied or even inspired, bu electrified, like some kind of...JOLT had found into was into and through my nervous system.

Great night.

And keep an eye open for Tiffany DuMouchelle. From what I can gather on the internet, she's got the chops and the rep to do all kinds of things, but positions herself as a "new music specialist", and from what I heard last night, I would go see here anywhere, any time, and in a perfect world, I would be able to.

As for Brett Dean, he's a new name to me, and of course, it's not impossible to get a rush out of a new composition that perhaps doesn't have staying power once recorded. But there was meat aplenty, almost like Elliot Carter and McCoy Tyner coming together, that kind of thing. With post-Berberian soprano on top, of course.

Of course, I really don't have a grounded enough background in any of this type of music to offer anything than "personal impressions", but...I've heard enough music of other types to know, on a basic human level, when shit is coasting, or being played "well enough", or when everybody is getting in the zone. Those are qualities that transcend genre, I think, and these cats last night were definitely in the zone.

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The Dean SQ was premiered less that a year ago, the soprano was replacement who didn't get the part until the Saturday before last night, Marwood had landed at the airport @ 6 PM for a 7:30 downbeat, the floor was audibly creaking during the solo viola piece, and when the creaking stopped, some guy had a heart attack or stroke and was being removed from the room all during an extended ppp section.

I shouldn't have, damn me, but I laughed out loud at this. Do hope the fellow is OK, of course, but the fact that the band played on ... ppp ... is right out of an SNL skit or something.

Otherwise, sounds like a great night!

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Oh, it wasn't the band playing while this happend - it was unaccompanied viola, played by the composer.

We can be forgiven for expecting a "classical" performance to be smooth, calm, quiet, all that. But the fact is, this was a road gig, and on road gigs, shit happens. Last minute subs (I still remember talking with John McNeal and him telling about how he got called for a Horace Silver tour less than 48 hours before the hit, and how Horace had a hard and fast rule of no music stands on the stage, so John learned the book (mostly then-new 70s things) in one giant cram session). And the squeaky floor thing was made even funnier by the small size of the room, this was not a "stage" proper, this was one of those modularly assembled carpet covered boxes things and the squeaks were louder than the viola...and once the guy found the neutral zone in his space, almost immediately there was a loud shuffling of chairs about halfway back..this being Dallas and "new music", I dared not look back for fear of seeing some boorish drunk guy trying to get comfortable or something. That, and the piece was in a spot of soft yet intense activity, I had come this far, nether drunk nor death was going to distract me from finishing, if the player was going to keep going, so was I. And Mr. Dean did indeed look up and out into the audience at one point, but kept playing through it all and finally got back into his zone. Hell, if he was going to keep going, so was I. Old school!

But when the piece finished *at what must have been at least a pppppp volume, the host immediately stepped up and announced to everybody that the gentlemen was indeed ok (or at least got out of the room ok, who knows what happened after that, although a few minutes into the next piece you could hear sirens outside), and not to impose on Brett, but I think it's very important that we hear his piece, was there any point at which he felt comfortable resuming to play to conclusion, to which Brett (a rather large, balding lumberjack looking guy) smiled a warm smile and in a heavy Australian access said, "Sure! I'll play the last page", which as it turned out was a perfect place to resume and to play to conclusion.

Slice of life, real life, real music in real time, shit happening, asses played off, just, indeed, a wonderful evening, a real gig, if you know what I mean. LOVED it!

Brett Dean

DeanBrett05-500-500x333.jpg

and while we're at it, Tiffany DuMouchelle

and here, starting ar 10:50

There's a comfort level, both vocal and visually, to her that I couldn't help but be drawn to, like, immediately..seems like one of those rare creatures who was born to do this and neer had any thoughts or doubts otherwise.

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Oh, it wasn't the band playing while this happend - it was unaccompanied viola, played by the composer.

Thanks, yeah, I was using the phrase kind of as a catch-all, as in the Titanic is going down and the band played on.

And yeah, live music is live music. I'm sort of past the notion that it should take place in pristine silence. Not going to happen. First of all, you're mostly going to be in an acoustically sensitive environment, so ambient noise happens and you'll hear it. Secondly, as far as symphony orchestras go, if you want the full blast experience, sit up front. You won't notice so much anything other than having your mind blown. My experience, anyways. YMMV.

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