When playing the music live, there’s no room to fall out of synch, Daugherty said. “The sound effects were designed to absolutely be synchronous with the music. We have to be exactly to the frame with it. And it’s fast, it’s very fast, and it’s wall to wall. We have an expression; there’s no slow movements in Looney Tunes.”
But it’s also a fun concert, he said. “I can’t tell you how many times I look into the orchestra — and I’m talking about the New York Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic,” Daugherty said, “I see musicians mouthing the words “Oh Bwunnhilde, you’re so wuvwy. . .”
“Former Boston Ballet principal dancer Yury Yanowsky, last seen with BLO as the condemned man in Philip Glass’s “In the Penal Colony” last season, slicked down his hair and donned a baggy beige suit and spectacles to represent Stravinsky himself. The character provided some moments of physical comedy, such as when tenor Ben Bliss as Tom stood in a kiddie pool in a thunderstorm and Yanowsky hurried to hold an umbrella over the hero’s head. However, the scene in which Tom loses all his fortune and possessions (“Ruin! Disaster! Shame!”) was transformed into a tour of Stravinsky’s supposed internal torment. The chorus, wearing short white wigs and beaked Venetian plague-doctor masks, held up tabloid newspaper front pages with headlines such as “Sell Out!” and “Stravinsky: Finished?” — needlessly diverting attention from the main arc of the drama. Most telling, the Stravinsky character was nowhere to be found during the most affecting scenes.”
“It seemed a new universe was being born onstage, a cosmic egg crisscrossed with intervallic paths. Set against passages of chromatic haze, consonances and triads resounded with extra luminosity.
I momentarily looked around for what I thought was a collective sigh from the crowd only to find that the cellos had slid downward en masse, and later I mistook a trombone’s high keen for a yawn or a cry. The music created the illusion of human voices, the purest representation of breath, and time seemed to expand and contract with the spectrum of sounds.”
Gabriel Kahane – Crane Palimpsest – The Knights (self released)
Missy Mazzoli – Songs from the Uproar – Abigail Fischer and NOW Ensemble (New Amsterdam)
Swetshop Boys – Cashmere (Customs)
Caspian – Tertia (Triple Crown)
Caspian – Dust and Disquiet (Triple Crown)
Taylor Brooks – Ecstatic Music – TAK Ensemble (New Focus)
> Ecstatic Music, Weather Reports, Idolum, Amalgam
Ism – Ryan Muncy (New Focus)
> James Tenney – Saxony, Erin Gee – Mouthpiece XXIV (w/Ross Karre), David Reminick – Gray Faces, Morgan Krauss – masked by likeness, Evan Johnson – Largo calligrafico/”patientam”, Lee Hyla – Pre-Amnesia
Taking a page out of the excellent Steve Smith’s book, and keeping this blog alive while the ink has been taken out of my critical pen for the summer. I’ll try to post a new one twice or three times a month.
Tamaryn – “Cranekiss,” “Hands All Over Me” (Bandcamp)
Einstein’s Little Homunculus – Balancing Act (Spotify)
I heard them play for a contra dance in Boston, Massachusetts, and they immediately shot to the top of my list of favorite bands to dance to. Most touring contra dance bands, the bands that get booked for the big festivals, meticulously arrange their sets. They sometimes sound very heavily produced (look to Perpetual E-Motion and Great Bear for examples of this) even while projecting spontaneity and joy onto the dancers. ELH had rough edges that the “pros” didn’t have, but they had that spark in spades.
Titus Andronicus – “Dimed Out,” “Come On, Siobhan” (Soundcloud)
Kirk Pearson – A Flickering in the Woods near Waycross, GA – Austin Lewellen (Soundcloud)
Kaija Saariaho – Petals for Violoncello and Live Electronics – Imke Frank and Gary Berger (Youtube)
Laurie Anderson – “Another Day in America” (Youtube)
Sufjan Stevens – “Fourth of July,” from Carrie and Lowell (Asthmatic Kitty > Bandcamp)
It’s raining in Lenox.
Charles Ives – Three Places in New England no. 3, “The Housatonic at Stockbridge” – Eastman-Rochester Orchestra (Youtube)
Charles Ives – “He is There!” – Michael Cavalieri (Youtube)
Gustav Holst – Nunc dimittis – The Sixteen (Youtube)
It is the music which makes it what it is; it is the music which changes the place from the rear room of a saloon in back of the yards to a fairy place, a wonderland, a little corner of the high mansions of the sky.