Thursday, November 5, 2009

Big Splash at Galapagos Art Space

Above photo reveals two blewits hiding beneath autumn leaves; like the music of Ben Johnston mentioned below, they dont reveal their beauties to just anyone!

Tuesday night I ventured down to the ultra hip DUMBO district of Brooklyn to hear a performance of Holy Ghosts at the super cool Galapagos Art Space. The relaization by oboist Sarah Schram as part of the American Modern Ensemble concert was great--she played like an angel. The amplification and mix (pre-recorded tape part vs. live oboe d'amore) wasn't quite right but that's my fault for not showing up for the sound check!
The interior of the space is quite dark and there's a number of large pods with seating around large tables,; in between the pods are bridges over pools of water; in other words there are moats between the pods. I didnt know this and stepped right into the water (dark waters at that) soaking my leg up to the knee. So I made a big spash even before the concert started. Thanks to composer Spencer Topel for coming up with a dry pair of socks for me.
Composer Ben Johnston was there and his String Quartet No. 9 was given a riveting performance by members of the AME.Ben is not as well known as he should be; he is one of the few "microtonalists" who actually writes beautiful, exprerssive music using just intonation. It's sort of a miracle.To call him an American original or national treasure is not going too far. Check out the New World recording of his quartets (including #9 and the amazing "Amazing Grace" # 4)

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