Thursday, December 21, 2006

Final Report from Philadelphia

After the incomparable Dishkin Brothers finished their set, there was a short intermission so they could gather up their pieces of wood and amplifiers. Then came the performance for which we had traveled to Purgatory and back, Jason Calloway and Christopher Otto. They first did a Xenakis piece written in 1996 for the Lincoln Center Festival called "Huuem-Iduhey," which is Yehudi Menuhim spelled backwards (sort of.) (If you don't know who Yehudi Menuhim is, you wouldn't like this piece.) They then did an original composition by someone whose name I didn't catch and finished up with Ravel's Sonata for Violin and Cello. Calloway quoted Ravel as saying about this piece that it "dispenses with the charm of trite-sounding harmonies." It does indeed, but it has its own charm.

At this point there used to be a video snippet of the Ravel piece. Chris has requested that I remove it, so I have.

The last set was by David Gross and Rhob Rainey and was called "Faces of Death," which is described in the poster as a "reductionist death match between two experimental saxophonists, complete with boxing style managers and high drama." One would think, reading the description, that the "reductionist death match" was between the two experimental saxophonists. It turned out it was between the saxophonists and the audience, many of whom literally had to cover their ears for protection against the assaults. I am told that Gross and Rainey are highly accomplished musicians and that this piece was intended as a parody. The problem was they had five minutes of parody, loosely packed into 30 minutes of our time.

Afterwards, we went out for some drinks, got to bed about midnight and were up again by 5:00 to fly out of Philadelphia, back to the good old conventional Midwest with its trite-sounding harmonies.

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