Daniel Goode

Composer & Performer

Tag: anime

Goebbels (H.) Does Gertrude (S.) at the New Tully Hall this Eve

March 19, 2011 1:40:25 AM EDT

Estonian conductor Anu Tali’s platinum ponytail over her musician’s-black uniform beating a metronomic 4/4: was mesmerizing. Heiner G. said in an interview that he knows he’ll always be confused with Joseph G., Hitler’s minister of propaganda. So he’s inoculated himself from this by setting passionate cantorial singing, sampled in his Sampler Suite, from Surrogate Cities. It began with a lighting blast on a male bass drum player smacking the instrument, two handed, with giant switches. It did take the breath away. Was the piece, as a whole, brilliant imagination or crap with brilliant lighting?… He “micromanages” the lighting according to one orchestra member. The whole stage dramatically changes its illumination at apt musical moments. In the Stein piece, it is in the score that the downstage part of the orchestra is all women (dressed in solid colors), who recite on mic and also play the orchestral instruments, while at the back are the men players dressed in black, who never recite. Stein’s World War II text, “Wars I have seen” was Goebbels 2007 hommage to her 1943 observations of everyday life in her adopted France. A friend in the audience, a holocaust survivor, was revolted by Stein’s line that “you could always get butter.” He said butter was unobtainable, and he only tasted peanut butter after the war. He fried it with an egg; called Stein “superficial.” I suggested that maybe in southern France she had a neighbor with a cow. Butter was next door. Spectacular playing by the London Sinfonietta, and a newer ensemble, Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment. The latter (women) did the Stein aided by the men from the Sinfonietta. Not like American, Canadian, or even most European music said another friend. Orchestra as theater. Not since Fellini’s hilarious, “Orchestra Rehearsal.” But Goebbels is suitably serious, even “Germanic.” And NOT boring. Interesting that both orchestras were 20th Century versions of the 16th-17 century “broken consort.” (Approx. one of each instrument.) The festival of the new hall ends, demonstrates that the social redesign of this high-art temple is successful: the new Tully Hall is fun for mingling, and for listening to music. Some eating and drinking too. Thumbnail review. Spring means music overload.

The Rite Resists Dance

Thumbnail Review, March 9th
March 11, 2013 10:45:30 PM EDT

How can the most famous dance score of the 20th Century, The Rite of Spring, resist choreography? It does, easily. I watched a solo pianist, Neil Alexander play his arrangement of the score on an amplified upright piano at the corner of the stage of the Alvin Ailey Theater in New York (thank you Citigroup!) while a dance troupe (Jonathan Riedel Dance Theater) did a lot of things with seven dancers, one, a man with a vicious looking stage knife or alternatively a German cross as pendant. A lot happened.

With all this action going on, my eyes and ears were still glued to the music Sometimes the amplified sound distorted. Mostly it sounded as familiar as a Brahms lullaby. It was just lovely piano music, not spectacle, or dissonant blockbuster. (I remember an L.A Philharmonic performance of it at the Disney auditorium where I was seated behind the stage, almost falling into the brass section as I swooned to their hypnotic choiring.) This was not like that. It was more like delicate Chopin traceries with occasional big bangs. Wonderful bangs, still 100 years later! And the gorgeous achingly beautiful slow dance in Eb-minor-ish: “Spring Rounds.” I could listen to that section over and over again. Maybe I’ll make that happen.

It’s been going around during this 100th anniversary of its premiere, that the booing and hissing in Paris was to Nijinsky’s choreography, not Igor’s music. How would we know? Maybe I need to see a few more dance versions before I proclaim that the score will always resist its dance interpretation—because of the mind-numbing stupidity of a “pagan ritual” with female sacrifice as its coup de grace.

It’s dumb 19th Century imaginary “anthropology,” romantic primitivism put out, I think, to rationalize the great innovative break that Stravinsky made, and foisted on a conservative culture. Perhaps that insufferable pagan ritual context was the reason the Riedel interpretation overlayed it with another story, the program notes told me, from a 13th Century Swedish folktale. Relief! when the dance ended with an embrace instead of a sacrifice. I predict that only a miracle will find a dance that matches the music and satisfies all senses.

Thumbnail review.