Daniel Allen (da_lj) wrote,
Daniel Allen

Open Ears day 2

The program says "Fredric Rzewski's repertoire of works for solo piano comprises the most important body in this genre of the twentieth century."

Very rich work. I didn't like the first piece, "Stop the War". It was highly repetitive, and started with him slapping up the piano, and ended with him slapping up himself. In between, he shouted "stop the war" a number of times. It was supposed to be difficult, and it was.

The second work, "Four Pieces", had wonderful tonal snippets that reminded me of folk music. The program explained it was "vaguely reminiscent of traditional music of the Andes, but without actually quoting anything."
If I ever want to write my own (pop? folk?) music, I'd love to base them on these pieces.

The third piece, "De Profundis", was based on, and recited, passages from Oscar Wilde's writing from Reading Gaol. Parts of it were quite affecting. It ends:

"...while for the first year of my imprisonment I did nothing else, and can remember doing nothing else, but wring my hands in impotent despair, and say, 'What an ending, what an appalling ending!' now I try to say to myself, and sometimes when I am not torturing myself do really and sincerely say, 'What a beginning, what a wonderful beginning!'"

Wunderkabinet by Pamela Z in collaboration with Matthew Brubeck (co-composer and cellist) was awesome.

An operetta about turn-of-the-20th-century science, the scientists who led the work, a very curious victorian-feeling museum, and the crazy people who wrote rambley letters to the scientists begging for attention. Pamela Z played a traveller/discoverer who tried and failed to get a response to her voluminous correspondance to the scientists; and ends up acting as docent of the weird museum.

Excellent use of video and sound-gadgetry. She'd sing a few notes, wave a hand, and her notes would be replayed in a loop; she and the cellist would work on top of the loop.

There was a very funny sub-story in the middle about scientists discovering a bat in the heart of Africa which had evolved the ability to sing above the supersonic into X-rays, which allowed it to manipulate matter and fly through solid objects. Eventually it was trapped inside a lead block, and we used "x-ray glasses" (actually 3-d lenses mounted with a stick, like a costume-party mask) to view the flapping bat in the lead block.
Tags: music, review
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