Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Whistle Down the Wind

Greetings all denizens of the consubstantial etherways, NYC is awash in jubilant sunshine, the icecaps are melting (quick: whose lyric is this, from which song, what artist, whose album? First correct answer receives a copy of the new Fast 'N' Bulbous CD), the frozen earth beneath the dirty ice crust peeps through once again, and the city is reborn in refracted shafts of light. The steel and glass citadels shimmer in the warmth of curved air, as Groundhog Day-like we pray for incipient signs of Spring...

and it is my happy duty to report that last night I attended a most magnificent concert of new music by Sir Harrison Birtwistle at the refurbished Zankel Hall (an adjunct of Carnegie Hall, replacing the long lamented Carnegie Hall Cinema whose trompe l'oeil lobby once transported you to the patisseries and boulangeries of Montmartre). My friend Richard the writer invited me to check out a composer whose name I must shamefacedly admit was known to me but his music not...now after sampling his wares (in line I suppose with the gastronomic theme of the former lobby tableau) I feel compelled to go on a Birtwistle buying spree at Amazon, such was the power and mystery of his music, which combined the airiest cerebral wit with occasional mordant, kick-in-the-teeth visceral shocks to the system. The performance, sparked by avant-diva Susan Narucki and an efficient team of young New Music demolition experts, was tough and precise, and Birtwistle's laconic description of his compositional method as resembling "dry-walling" was belied by the the riot of tonal effects and colors each of his mainly aleatory pieces displayed in abundance. I haven't really enjoyed a new music concert as much as this one in a long, long time. Kudos to the programmers at Zankel Hall for booking such a marvelous program into their acoustically pure space (much as I miss the old theater, where I fondly remember catching many French and German cinematic masterpieces in the 70's and 80's, this new concert hall is a more than worthy successor).

By the way, the Fast 'N' Bulbous CD is out now in the world and is (hopefully) available at better record stores near you. Here's
a link to a review that's just come in hot off the wire:


I'm working on some cool new songs with Michael Schoen later this afternoon in preparation for my upcoming Gods and Monsters gig at the Bowery Poetry Club this Friday, where Michael is my special guest; he's really been growing as a singer in the few months I've spent working with him.

Keep on growing, everybody...



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