Originally posted on September 5, 2009
Tinged red and blue by colorful light-bulbs and sitting on the floor around the stage area, the audience at Music =‘s benefit party were taken unawares as the performance began unannounced, with a French love song for two voices by medieval composer Guillaume de Machaut. Jumping forward approximately 500 years, this was followed by a nimble bassoon solo from 1969 by American composer Vincent Persichetti.
Moving ahead another 40 years, two works written this year were next on the program.
Matthew Hough made his listeners “uncomfortable, but in a cool way” (according to one audience member) with his candid work for spoken word and alto flute, entitled “You Should All Be Shot.” The flutist, breathing into her instrument and clacking its keys, performed a silent piece while the composer read aloud five reminiscences culled from his time living in Harlem (the title of the piece was once shouted at him while walking along a street in the neighborhood). The result was humorous, moving, and disturbing, the autobiographical element rendering the experience intensely personal.
Next up was a piece for violin and cello by David Utzinger. The two instruments’ graceful musical lines engaged in intimate conversation, creating finely hued music in three movements.
The performance ended with an improvisation for three electric guitars, bassoon, and alto flute, aptly titled “Madness.”
check out Music = New Sound at Cafe Orwell in Bushwick this Friday, Sept. 25th.