Thursday, January 24, 2008
Wordless Music concerts
Last week there were two concerts in New York City, in which Son Number Two and The Girlfriend played, that were kind of big deals if you're hip and young or the parent of someone hip and young. The concerts were by the Wordless Music Orchestra, a 50-person modern music ensemble. The New York Times previewed the concerts in this article and then reviewed the first one here afterwards.
They reportedly packed out The Church of St. Paul the Apostle on two nights. The big draw was the American premier of Popcorn Superhet Receiver by Jonny Greenwood, the lead guitarist for Radiohead, the English alternative rock band. This piece happens to be part of the soundtrack for the Oscar-nominated movie, There Will Be Blood. They also played a John Adams piece, Christian Zeal and Activity and The Sinking of the Titanic by Gavin Bryars.
For those of you who have heard SNT's string quartet, JACK, this was pretty tame stuff. The whole purpose of the "Wordless Music" series is to cross the bridge between modern classical and alternative rock music to appeal to listeners who would not ordinarily listen to classical. I really liked all three pieces, but I might be considered prejudiced. You can listen to the complete concert here.
There are some great photographs by Christopher Owyoung, a New York concert photographer who took the picture at the top of this post, with an excellent one of TG here (but if you don't know her, you won't know which one is her and I won't embarrass her by pointing her out.)
There is a very positive review here by Darcy James Aruge. A good one by a New Jersey reviewer can be found here. A review with some criticisms (of the compositions, not the players) can be found here. Not everyone was that impressed by the concert.