Initiated by composers Daniel Felsenfeld and Eleonor Sandresky, Music After was a day-long concert featuring music by composers who were living in downtown Manhattan on 9/11: Annie Gosfield, Carter Burwell, Charles Waters, Dafna Naphtali, Daniel Felsenfeld, David Bowie, David Byrne, David Del Tredici, David First, David Lang, David Linton, David Soldier, Don Byron, Eleonor Sandresky, Elliot Sharp, Elliott Carter, Eve Beglarian, Hans Tammen, Harold Meltzer, Joan La Barbara, Joanne Brackeen, John King, Jon Gibson, Jonathan Hart Makwaia, Judd Greenstein, Judy Nylon, Julia Heyward, Julia Wolfe, etc. (full list here). It was also conceived as an alternative to the list of names, the speeches, the politics… that were taking place elsewhere and just created a space where composers could come and share something closely related or not with their experience of 9/11 and their life after.
The event took place in the beautiful annex of the Joyce Theatre in Soho, a three-story former firehouse located at 155 Mercer. The concert symbolically started at 8:46 and went on until midnight. I could only attend a very small portion of it but the line up was impressive: Laurie Anderson, Joan LaBarbara, Daniel Felsenfeld and Rick Moody, Michael Friedman accompanying Robbie Sublett, Charles Walters (Sparkle Trio), …
I really enjoyed the intimacy of the space and the freedom that was given to the performers. Over the span of a couple of hours, the music seamlessly went from the vocal soundscaping of Joan LaBarbara (Gate Keeper) to the beautiful A Hudson Cycle by Nico Muhly (more about this piece + excerpt) performed by Eleonor Sandresky, and to Rick Moody and Daniel Felsenfeld covering Lou Reed’s Perfect Day.
I sometimes almost had the impression to be part of a good friend’s remembrance as all the performers seemed approachable and fragile. Felsenfeld gently led the event, introducing the acts in a low, friendly voice.
The variety of genres and affects created an emotional mosaic that might have reflected the unique feelings of the audience: even though I clearly remember this day, 10 years ago, I was not present in downtown Manhattan, not even in NY or this country. Still I was profoundly moved by all the acts and their individual stories told in music (or prose for Laurie Anderson).