Culture Magazine

Concert Review: The Leading Edge of Life

By Superconductor @ppelkonen
The JACK Quartet opens the NY Phil Biennial 2016.
by Paul J. Pelkonen

Concert Review: The Leading Edge of Life

They'll melt your face: the JACK Quartet.
Photo by Caroline Savage.

Every Biennial begins with a single concert. On Monday night, a crowd of cognoscenti seated in the upstairs auditorium of the 92nd St. Y heard the JACK Quartet open the NY Phil Biennial 2016, the New York Philharmonic's three-week festival celebrating the sharp leading edge of modern art music.
The concert was introduced by Philharmonic music director Alan Gilbert who invited the assembled to join him and the ensemble in their celebration of adventurous music horizons. And then the JACK Quartet took the stage, four musicians who have become local New York heroes thanks to their gutsy approach to modern music.
Contrary to a popular meme right now that refers to orchestras as "1800s cover bands", this was very much music of the 21st century, with all three composers on the program very much alive (and two of them seated in the audience.) The three pieces were performed without intermission in a darkened room that invited concentration and focus and a bright acoustic that made the music bloom.
First up was Canadian composer Marc Sabat's Euler Lattice Spirals Scenery, a work that explores the idea of "Pythagorean tuning," a system of generating sounds based around the perfect fifth. Indeed, the work opened with open-stringed drones played by all four players, and only when the drones built in sound, volume and intensity did they apply fingers to the necks of their instruments.
Mr. Sabat's music is unusual but inviting, using a very old technique to create new sounds in the tradition of the neo-classicists. Derek Bermel, who followed was a total contrast. His Intonations had the four instruments mimic all sorts of sounds, from the buzzing wail of a harmonica  to the up-and-down fireworks of a '30s jazz band. Hints of the great songwriters peppered the movements.
In the second half of the quartet, Mr. Bermel's references moved from the jazz age to the '80s, as the quartet players imitated the crunch of overdriven guitars and even the deep throaty scratch of a rap deejay's turntables. This was an exciting, kaleidoscopic work, bustling with energy and ideas, and one this writer wants to hear again.
Cenk Ergün was the last composer featured. His Sonare seemed to be more about performance practice than performance, opening with a John Cage-like section where the musicians pressed their left hands down on the strings in the correct spots but did not bow, thus producing no sound. Eventually, they generated slow, keening sounds that rose from the murky depths of silence before building to a climax.
The last work, Celare was of a very different character, hard-driving and persistent with a rapid churn coming from the cello and viola. This burst of high speed gave way to a slower section featuring the higher voices of the quartet, which alternated with the churning, jogging figure until the work finally rolled to a stop. 

You Might Also Like :

Back to Featured Articles on Logo Paperblog

These articles might interest you :

  • Polyamory and the Friendship Litmus Test

    Lately I’ve been trying to work out my feelings about nonmonogamy and metamours–specifically, how to articulate to partners what I’d like my relationships with... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Brute Reason
  • Yorkshire Revisited

    Yorkshire Revisited

    Almost five years ago we wrote about friends garden in Yorkshire. Well last weekend we went "up North" for a visit and although the garden is only just waking u... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Alternativeeden
  • Daya: A Yoga Practice of Compassion

    Daya: Yoga Practice Compassion

    by Victor DubinBlossoming Almond Branch in a Glass by Vincent van GoghI am not as compassionate as I would like to be. I am inclined to be ego driven and to... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Ninazolotow
  • Matter Resolved Matter Resolved

    James Booth posted on Namepros that he has pushed the domain name back to the original owner Rebecca. This thread became legendary and brought together a lot... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Worldwide
  • The Interactive Cafe – Zee5 Loft

    Interactive Cafe Zee5 Loft

    Zee5 Loft is an interactive café which recently opened in HSR, Bangalore. The whole idea is built on Hospi-tainment or Hospitality with Entertainment. This is... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Rohit Dassani
  • Creation Stories: LANNDS

    Photo Credit: Carl Rosen LANNDS is the indie-electronic project of Florida-based songwriter Rania Woodard. We came across LANNDS’ latest single, “Legends,” and... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Music Creates Us
  • Huawei P20 Pro , P20 Lite With FullView Display Launched in India

    Huawei has made a comeback in India by launching Huawei P20 Lite, P20 Pro today. These phones come with AI-powered cameras in collaboration with the optics in... Read more

    The 24 April 2018 by   Gadgetscanner