Today's post was written by participant composer Amy Beth Kirsten:
If last night's concert was the only musical event that I got to experience at this festival it would have been worth the trip. I don't know about you, but those transcendent, life-altering musical experiences don't come along that often and when they do, well, it's powerful.
From the accidental prologue of church bells, to Matthew's final winding down of the woodblock in Hartke's Meanwhile, I had completely lost myself...and found music all over again - isn't it great to fall in love with sound? Oh yes, it was one of those concerts.
The whole concert was so terrifically paced; I don't think it could have been programmed better. With Hartke's Percolative Processes it was impossible not to be drawn in - quiet waves of intense and ever-shifting color that, to me, evoke earth elements - it was the perfect door to walk through. Once fully inside the metaphoric "room," we had the pleasure of experiencing Bresnick's My Twentieth Century. Like many of the fellows here, I'd only ever heard this piece as a recording. As effective as it is as a recorded piece, it profoundly aches with heartbreak when experienced live. The obsessive and unrelenting rhythm married with a joyous harmonic language creates an emotional conflict that feels so honestly born from the text - as I said last night, "you had me at 'fireflies.'" And I just have to say that the delivery of lines of text was so much more than mere delivery - each one of you felt truly plugged into the energy and sound of words in such a visceral way...all I have left to say is WOW.
I was so open-hearted after My Twentieth Century that it was the perfect way to be to receive Hoffman's Hands Down. It was difficult not to make a spiritual connection between the two. What I mean is that My Twentieth was many beautiful things, but mostly it was about the awareness of being human, of being temporary, of being totally f@#$%-up, of loving, of losing, and most poignantly for Hands Down, of the human relationship to time. Thinking about time, I remembered Hoffman's presentation of his music during which he spoke of a kind of a personal rebirth, one that may manifest in his music as a new approach to silence...perhaps composing longer and longer periods silence as he goes on. Hands Down seemed plucked out of space somehow, fleeting, as if it didn't belong to him, to us, or anyone - and truly beautiful.
Can I just say that Meanwhile is my new favorite piece of the twenty-first century? Hey, does anyone have a copy of the score? I've got to hear that again. Bravo to Mr. Hartke and eighth blackbird for the kind of composition and performance that makes us want to play, dance, compose, invent, and create all day. I know I've said this before, but...my ears/heart/mind are so happy.