Loading ...
Sorry, an error occurred while loading the content.

Clip: Bang On a Can All-Stars

Expand Messages
  • Carl Z.
    Melodic Inventions, Frenzied to Calm By ANTHONY TOMMASINI Published: December 7, 2006 Bang on a Can,
    Message 1 of 2 , Dec 7, 2006
    • 0 Attachment
      <http://www.nytimes.com/2006/12/07/arts/music/07bang.html>

      Melodic Inventions, Frenzied to Calm

      By ANTHONY TOMMASINI
      Published: December 7, 2006

      Bang on a Can, the collective of composers, performers and activists
      who champion hip contemporary music, began almost 20 years ago with an
      all-inclusive festival. Marathons and festivals are still the main
      attractions of this enterprising outfit.

      But the festivals are sometimes inclusive to a fault. Concerts by the
      Bang on a Can All-Stars, a roster of six elite performers, tend to be
      more discriminating, the classy events. The All-Stars program on
      Tuesday night at Zankel Hall was no exception. Four of the six new and
      recent works performed were inventive and captivating, a high
      satisfaction quotient in any field of art.

      Fred Frith's beautifully conceived "Snakes and Ladders" is set in
      motion with a repetitive series of pensive, bluesy piano chords,
      nudged now and then by the bass and electric guitar, and woven through
      with melodic bits in the clarinets and cello. What keeps the music
      from becoming excessively soothing are staggered rhythms in the
      percussion and abrupt melodic flights that keep spiraling upward — the
      "Snakes and Ladders" of the title. Eventually the flights turn fitful
      and skittish, almost pointillistic, until the piece winds down, thins
      out and ends in wistful calm.

      The versatile and highly skilled All-Stars — Robert Black (bass),
      David Cossin (percussion), Lisa Moore (piano), Mark Stewart (electric
      guitar), Wendy Sutter (cello), Evan Ziporyn (clarinets) — seemed
      particularly engaged by the next work, two pieces from the "Opere
      della Musica Povera" series by Martin Bresnick, a mentor to several
      founding members of Bang on a Can, including Mr. Ziporyn. In these
      scores, inspired by grimly poignant tales from Kafka, Mr. Bresnick
      strives to create astutely structured and organic works using only
      minimal materials.

      "The Bucket Rider," with its delicate pedal tones, murky sonorities
      and a chorale-like pattern of pungent chords, was a mesmerizing
      prelude to "Be Just!," a breathless work, like some wild toccata that
      began and ended with the terrifying thump of rattling chains dropped
      upon a bass drum.

      Four studies originally created for player piano by the iconoclastic
      American composer Conlon Nancarrow, who died in 1997, were heard in
      recent arrangements by Mr. Ziporyn. Nancarrow's evocations of
      boogie-woogie, swing, wailing jazz, African rhythms and his trademark
      frenetic pummeling are made more explicit in these colorful and
      effective arrangements, though you lose some of the honky-tonk
      plainness of the originals.

      The composer and clarinetist Don Byron describes his jazzy, punchy and
      pulsating "Show Him Some Lub" as a confessional piece. Mixed into the
      instrumental textures are the amplified voices of the performers
      giving answers to personal questions about their ancestors, ethnic
      backgrounds and aspirations. The audience heard only the answers, not
      the questions, so the flow of disconnected words, though affecting,
      became just another musical element.

      For me Julia Wolfe's "Big, Beautiful, Dark and Scary" was a tiresome
      din of perpetual motion and swelling cluster chords. Thurston Moore's
      "Stroking Piece # 1" was also blunt, blaring and orgasmic. Both works
      shook the place, though, and earned some lusty cheers. I wouldn't be
      surprised if the aural onslaught loosened up the granite walls
      surrounding this underground hall, just in case Carnegie Hall is
      thinking of excavating some more to expand the place.
    • Jason Gross
      Gawd... no wonder the Time Out poll slammed this guy. The people sitting next to me at the show had a better dialog about the evening. Wolfe and Moore s
      Message 2 of 2 , Dec 8, 2006
      • 0 Attachment
        Gawd... no wonder the Time Out poll slammed this guy. The people
        sitting next to me at the show had a better dialog about the evening.

        Wolfe and Moore's pieces were actually roof-raisers and the crowd
        responded accordingly. As for their festivals being too
        all-inclusive, the last one they had over the summer was otherwise
        roundly (and rightly) praised as a triumph.

        J

        Perfect Sound Forever- online music magazine since 1993- now new and
        semi-improved!
        <http://www.perfectsoundforever.com>
        MySpace Page: <http://www.myspace.com/perfectsoundmagazine>
        Yei Wei Blog aka Wild Taste: <http://yeweiblog.blogspot.com/>
        Crazed by the Music blog: <http://blogs.popmatters.com/crazedbythemusic/>
      Your message has been successfully submitted and would be delivered to recipients shortly.