Posted by Thomas Deneuville » 2 Comments »
This season the New York City Opera presents 4 new productions: two at BAM, and two at New York City Center. I was lucky to attend the opening matinee of one of these extra muros productions: Britten’s Turn of the Screw on Sunday, February 24. Like many others, I was saddened and worried by the list of unfortunate hardships that stroke the NYCO in the past few years, but this wonderful production was a reassuring sign of its health and sustainability.
Benjamin P. Wenzelberg, Sara Jakubiak, Lauren Worsham, Sharmay Musacchio – Photo by Richard Termine
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Posted by Thomas Deneuville » Add Comment »
In preparation of the New York premiere of Michael Gordon’s Timber at the BAM Fisher, on December 13, 14, and 15, 2012, Mantra Percussion let us be present during one of the rehearsals and kindly answered our questions about the instruments they built and the piece itself.
For more information, visit: http://www.mantrapercussion.org and http://www.bam.org/timber.
Purcharse a recording of “Timber” by Slagwerk den Haag on Cantaloupe: http://goo.gl/Pnr5e.
Embedding is cool. Crediting is really cool.
Video + Editing: Thomas Deneuville
Opening animation: Daniel Thompson at DTWebart (http://www.dtwebart.com)
Posted by Sam Reising » Add Comment »
New York release show for Nico Muhly’s “Drones”
Nico Muhly – Photo by Matthew Murphy
Nico Muhly celebrates the release of his new album, Drones with an all Nico Muhly and Philip Glass program at Le Poisson Rouge.
Monday, December 3 at 7 PM
Tickets $15 advance, $20 day of show
Le Poisson Rouge, 158 Bleecker Street, New York, NY
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Posted by Evan Burke » Add Comment »
We all know, deep down, that classifying music is a fool’s game, yet we can’t seem to stop ourselves, can we? A friend tells us, “Oh, I love this (band/composer/musical entity)” and the first thing we ask, almost in spite of ourselves, is “What do they sound like?”. We can use cool-sounding adjectives, comparisons, and variations on other descriptions we’ve heard before, but it’s really all for naught until we actually hear the music. In the case of Darcy James Argue, it’s especially easy to get hung up on classification. At first glance, it’s easy: big-band jazz. Sure, he doesn’t sound much like any big band, past or present, but there’s horns and it swings sometimes, right? But listen closer, and it’s clear that the label doesn’t quite fit. There are too many shifting time signatures, too many rock riffs, too many black clouds of atonal darkness. So it’s more like modern classical, right? After all, it’s heavily composed, without much repetition. But that doesn’t work either. Argue sits nicely in the Ellingtonian tradition of writing tunes around key soloists whose style he knows well, allowing them to improvise over his through-composed works. And hey, if you think about it, even Ellington wasn’t so easy to categorize: if you had never heard jazz or the blues before, but then heard Such Sweet Thunder, you’d probably think it sounded like Debussy with a fat backbeat. So there’s improvisation and swing and all the instruments people identify as “jazz” instruments…can’t really call it classical either. So what’s left?
Darcy James Argue
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Posted by Evan Burke » 2 Comments »
What I find most interesting about the Brooklyn Youth Chorus is the elegance with which the ensemble, led by founder Dianne Berkun, serves two vital purposes at once: they are both an institution dedicated to high-quality musical education for young singers (ages 7-18), as well as exciting and progressive performers, capable of tearing through John King’s eerie, experimental, Ligeti-like Muse Cast Aside War one night, then backing Elton John at MSG the next. It makes perfect sense, really: as an educational entity, BYC is dedicated to preparing their students for a professional career, which means they must be necessarily diverse in their repertoire. They must familiarize students with all manner of styles and techniques, and give them opportunities to perform in real-life settings. At the same time, they’re a choir of young, open-minded musicians in one of the music capitals of the planet. Why not collaborate with anyone and everyone in town? And who better to perform new works, written in new styles, than young musicians? Musicians who, while not yet at the technical level of older professionals (although not very far behind them, either), have also yet to develop habits, established patterns, and comfort zones? Isn’t it a boon to a composer to work with musicians who are still discovering their personal style and sound? And even play a role in their development, while also getting an opportunity to have their works performed? The concerts I attended recently, at the BAM Cafe on May 5 and at the Roulette Theater on May 19, featured music by modern composers like Missy Mazzoli, Bryce Dessner, and Shara Worden, whose pieces written expressly for the BYC defied easy categorization, emphasizing the adventurous nature of the ensemble.
Shara-Worden (My Brightest Diamond) performs her song "Before the Words" with BYC - Photo by Robert Maass
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Posted by David Pearson » 4 Comments »
The best music is often that which makes the perfect soundtrack for its time, sounding completely “in the moment” yet drawing from its predecessors and opening up new possibilities for the future. The 4-night run of Brooklyn Babylon at Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Harvey Theatre this past week combined imaginative music and visual art to create a compelling theatrical performance that spoke directly to profound social questions of today. The innovative sounds of Darcy James Argue’s Secret Society and the provocative animation and live painting by Danijel Zezelj were a treat in their own right, and the performance was a riveting hour-long journey left you thinking, seeing, and hearing differently.
Photo credits James Matthew Daniel
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