On Saturday night I headed into Boston with a wonderful group to see Alicia perform with the Firebird ensemble and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project.
We all arrived in Boston at different times. Ryan, Ruth, and Math Tim met me in town around 6:40 for beverages . Chef Sarah, Kelly, and Chris came a bit later. As I walked these three up the stairs to our balcony seats Kelly asked…
“What type of music is this anyway?”
Mike D: “Modern.”
Mike D: “Very modern. It could be really strange.”
The event started with the world premier of a piece composed by Alejandro Rutty called “The Conscious Sleepwalker Loops.” It was fantastic. The music was sweeping and epic with some A+ percussion. Ruth spent much of the first song leaned forward looking over the balcony rail at the drum player who was rocking out.
The second piece was the world premier of a piece by Derek Hurst. The music is described on the bmop website as “a precarious balance between visceral solemnity and muscular jocularity.” The Firebird ensemble was featured and really? it was very strange. The beginning was really powerful and had the stringed instruments of the Firebird ensemble plucking their strings aggressively. I looked over towards Ryan Schenk who gave two thumbs up. After that the song became a bit more academic, and it was very tense and got me feeling a bit uncomfortable.
Intermission came and went and the second half started with the music Ken Ueno with yet another world premier. This one called “On a Sufficient Condition for the Existence of Most Specific Hypothesis”
Ken is an overtone singer. and I was BLOWN away. He generated these powerful deep growls from within his throat that would occasionally be coupled with really high squeals. Behind his intense singing was some really wild string work which had the musicians sliding their hands up and down the strings creating a sensation of the music slowing and speeding. The other members of my group were not as thrilled with the vocals – they thought it seemed too painful or sounded too much like something you’d hear out of a horror movie. For me? I couldn’t be more awestruck. It was brilliant.
The final piece was a premier of a song composed by Lisa Bielawa called simply “Double Violin Concerto.” It was a very beautiful piece. The two violinists really worked well off one another. There were two things that were especially unique about this piece. The first was that there was an accordion player (yes!) The second was that the featured female violinist sang while playing. I don’t know how hard this is, but she did a pretty bang up job.
Overall, the event was really fun. It’s always a little weird going to these events, but definitely worth it to get a few new experiences.