|Numinous The Music of Joseph C. Phillips Jr.|
The Numinosum Blog
Last night on the date for observing Martin Luther King Jr.'s birth, I attended a music festival that seemed to resonate Dr. King's dream of integration: an integration where all music is valid as inspiration ("that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight") and can combine to form something different. Yesterday was the kick-off Marathon to the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall and I was there for all 7.5 hours of it! In general I LOVED the Marathon and think the concept of the Festival is just the thing I've always been looking for and interested in: musically and aesthetically. So with Steve Smith doing a nice write-up on the Marathon in the NY Times, I thought in this season of awards and Top Ten Lists instead of a straight run-down of yesterday's performances, I'd give you my real-time Twitter thoughts and then a little commentary which includes some love...and a little pain:
Most Fascinating Piece:
-Julius Eastman "Stay on It" performed by Ne(x)tworks
repeating groove & electronics w/echos of new music godfather Reich, probably a prelude of music to come #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
interesting to hear many of the music currents swirling in 1973, and made more popular by others, come together in an intriguing and unique way.Also nice to have an African-American composer featured (the only one among composers or performers), especially on MLK day--would love to see more of it and other brown faces in the composers, performers and audiences on other new music (non-jazz) concerts (we are out there).
Piece(s) I wish I had written:
-Judd Greenstein "City Boy" performed by NOW Ensemble
-Jefferson Friedman "String Quartet No. 3" performed by Chiara String Quartet
Friedman and @juddgreenstein definitely mining the same "new beauty" some of us youngsters are trying out these days #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
both pieces were beautiful and lyrical and intense in different but altogether very satisfying ways: Judd's was rhythmically driving and melodically active, while Jefferson's was more of a explorative emotional journey. Both ensembles seemed truly committed to the music.
Group I wish I was a member of:
love lrg table full of percussion that So Percussion is standing around, heads bowed, like T-day (or Seder...this is Merkin) #ecstaticmusic
banging on cool stuff and looking good doing it...nuff said!
Piece(s) that cause the most intense "WTF is this?" moments from me:
-Michael Gordon "Industry" performed by Ashley Bathgate
-Gabriel Kahane "Neurotic and Lonely" from Craig's List Lieder
"Industry" was another well-received piece; w/hammer blows, growing noise & distortion, thought it was "Eruption" #vanhalan #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
best shoes and sock combination award of the evening goes to Gabriel Kahane #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
still trying to process what I heard here...
Borderline pretentious moment or (this is certainly cool kid music moment):
-Timo Andres performing his piano piece "Everything is an Onion"
Timo Andres is playing his piece from an iPad #21stcentury #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
I thought it was cool and probably would have done it too, but it also was a little show-offy...kind of like just having an iPad...
Borderline too smart for the crowd (or perhaps, knowing the crowd, just right):
-John Mattias/Adrian Corker/Andrew Prior
matthias/corker/prior from England is up (violin/singing, piano, laptop with neuro-sampling technology?) #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
brooding moor-ish landscapes and fog enveloped seascapes are perfect images for matthias/corker/prior #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
it was a really Sigur Ros-like slow mood throughout (I do like Sigur Ros though); lyrics were hard to understand (some sound issues on various artists throughout the day); and even though they are from England, seemed a little TOO Brooklyn indie cool for me. But some of the sounds were lovely...
Most Inspiring Moment:
-Face the Music Quartet performing
"Volcano" very exciting and energetic...a crowd pleaser! #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
said this when Face the Music played my piece last year, I wish I had something like the group when I was young #WIN #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
Christine Southworth's "Volcano"-some sound balance issues with electric quartet & piano; kids seem to enjoy playing it #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
Face the Music quartet did a lovely job w/ textural challenges of @missymazzoli's "Death Valley Junction" & they pull it off #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
the new music future looks bright with the youngsters coming up...
-realizing Merkin Hall doesn't allow food in the theatre
during this break, advice for @merkinhall & next @ecstaticmusic festival: allow food in theater #hungrybutdontwanttoloseseat #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
a call went out for open seats, seems like there is a line waiting to get in. #hopinggingeraltoidsholdmetodinner #ecstaticmusic 17 Jan
understand the rule, bad for those of us people "in it to win" all-day Marathoners.
Most Fantabulous, Fun non-musical Moment(s):
-Getting Q2 button
-Niceness of Ecstatic Music staff to help a brotha out with some chocolate
-Kaufman center director recognized me, due to my Face the Music connections, and escorted me to VIP room to increase my blood sugar levels with wine, cheese, and crackers
-trying to parse Corey Dargel's lyrics
-watching Missy Mazzoli and Lorna Krier of Victoire, with their hand gestures during their final song with Buke & Gass
For more on the Festival, you can read my coverage of the Marathon a twww.twitter.com/numinousmusic or just search #ecstasticmusic on Twitter.
(photo credit: taken by me before the Merkin police crackdown)
POSTED BY NUMINOUS AT 11:55 PM
LABELS: OPINION, PERFORMANCE REVIEW
To all things that create a sense of wonder and beauty that inspires and enlightens.