Posts in Field Reports
Carter and Dargel make a virtue of musical disruption, showing that the most interesting narratives don’t necessarily project well onto music of smoothness and ease. The characters might vary—Carter’s voluble and acerbic, Dargel’s defiantly damaged—but both dramas spring from the same conviction: that the get-together only starts to be really interesting once things get broken.
September was chock-a-block with musical activity in the San Francisco Bay Area.
For more than a decade, Houston’s Musiqa has presented a sort of artistic cornucopia for its audience. Music, dance, and the spoken word come together with other art forms in dynamic multifaceted presentations that keep the audience engaged and on its toes.
Martin Pearlman’s Finnegans Wake: An Operoar did right by James Joyce’s garrulous tumble of language. What success the work produced could be traced to two fundamental decisions: not cutting the text (the piece sets the novel’s first seven pages in whole), and opting for a reciting actor (Adam Harvey) rather than singers.
The sound of trains runs through Harry Partch’s music, the wheeze and whine of whistles drifting over and beyond the settled grid of equal temperament, the percussive cycles phasing in and out like the rods and wheels of a locomotive.
The ubiquitous John Cage centenary tributes continued in the Bay Area this month with a performance of Erik Satie’s Vexations, 49 years after the first performance famously organized by Cage.
Inaugurated in 2000, Michelle Schumann’s annual “Happy Birthday Mr. Cage!” event has become a “Rite of Fall” of sorts for Austinites in and around the new music scene.
Taken together, a multifaceted portrait of Cage has taken shape in a way that no single concert could achieve.
I do, on occasion, enjoy putting on a coordinated outfit and drinking from something with a stem prior to my fiddle intake, but for me this is more of a Thanksgiving/Presidents’ Day once-a-year deal than a monthly water bill situation. For my regular listening, I prefer smaller, less formal venues, and fortunately I’m not alone.
The Cabrillo Festival of Contemporary Music, which is unconventional in so many ways, proves that there can be an enthusiastic audience for contemporary music in a smaller community.