Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Exotic Hypnotic 2008: After Now

After Now: Nothing You've Heard Before @ University of Baltimore Student Center Performing Arts Theater, Baltimore, MD
Saturday, July 19, 2008
Part of the Exotic Hypnotic series - in conjunction with Artscape.

Five by Andrew Cole

Jamie Schneider: oboe
Matthew Taylor: saxophone
Cameron Raecke: viola
Nathan Bontrager: cello

Seven Sketches of Beginning by Mark A. Lackey

Jennifer Holbrook: soprano
Mark Edwards: guitar

Manifestation by Samuel Burt

Ariana Lamon-Anderson: clarinet
Justin Nurin: trumpet
Neil Feather: guitaint
Paul Neidhardt: percussion, friction
Domenica Romagni: cello

With the three pieces on this program the After Now collective offered its clearest vision of what "nothing you've heard before" sounds like as composers assemble the disparate components and local resources in the realization of a creative voice.  This was most effectively realized by Samuel Burt in Manifestation as he made use of an "audio score" to unify a mixed ensemble of players from different traditions.  Players wore headphones and responded to what they heard as the sounds of Neil Feather's invented instrument, Paul Neidhardt's friction-centric percussion blended with the more "classically-inclined" wind and string players.  Even as the quality of this performance hinged heavily upon the ear-hand coordination of the performers the overall form and sound bore many of the characteristic ideas and humor of Samuel Burt.

With Five Andrew Cole realized the mileage and sonic horizons that open up within an aesthetic of reduced materials.  A handful of notes and a sense of stasis allowed the texture to blossom organically.  A direction that almost anticipates his move to the remote wilds of Wisconsin later this year.

With Seven Sketches of Beginning Mark A. Lackey turned inward toward his faith to realize the challenge of setting a wordless setting about the creation for voice and guitar.  (Two of the most challenging instruments to write for, in my opinion).  Holbrook and Edwards clearly had a feel for both the subject and the musicality of this writing.  

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