June 2018

Recordings

A Crop of Recordings XXII: Atterberg, Frommel, Walton, Elgar, and Roussel

Amusingly, this parses out to us a bit like Sir Edward Elgar gone Hollywood in the more outgoing moments. The music gleams from below as it strides forth on buttered strings and brass. The slow movement has a mesmeric, rocking, floaty quality which seems never to end and then does…”unfinished.” For a finale, Atterberg necessarily cannot evoke what Schubert did not write, so we encounter a rather haltingly fugal enterprise at first which gathers steam until we are going full tilt in the triumphant manner of Richard Strauss meets Copland. Yes, I know. What on earth does that sound like? Well, the final march is treated in the Shostakovich/Tubin/Copland manner, but the propulsive tune itself is essentially the nervous last movement fugal subject from Strauss’s Symphonia Domestica. You will have to listen to it to know! And the bumptious bells-and-whistles ending is worth the price of admission.
Dance

Kids’ Night Out: Ballet Tech Kids Dance at The Joyce Theater

The young dancers of Ballet Tech are a remarkable bunch—poised, fluid, comfortable in sneakers or pointe shoes and full of joy in movement. As wonderful as I found the dancers, I was not delighted with Elliot Feld’s choreography finding it highly repetitive with the same steps repeated one dancer after another. Perhaps this is deliberate, to allow each dancer a shot at the identical move or does it stem from the misguided idea that these students can’t handle more complex steps? The music selections were almost as annoying—by the third “Irish jig” my ears went on hold.
Music

Where Words Fail, Music Speaks: SoHarmoniums—In Between: Sounds and Spaces

Said Hans Christian Anderson. Indeed, sixty women singers can make a lot of joyful noise. Among the many pleasures of listening to the SoHarmoniums is their eclectic repertoire which, on the night I heard them, ranged from classic American spirituals to a piece without lyrics to an international tango written by an Italian composer with words by an Uruguayan poet and a strong Spanish feel. Top it with the closing number, Hooked on Classics, that merged ten famous classical pieces (Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Beethoven’s Symphony No. 5, Rossini’s Carmen Prelude, the 1812 Overture, etc.) adding entertaining words and give this group and their leader additional points for showing their sense of fun.
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