Friday, June 17, 2011

Lucinda Childs

Lucinda Childs Dance Company, May 10, 2011

The Granada Theatre, Santa Barbara

Dance, choreographed by Lucinda Childs

If you like entrances and exits, this is for you, a clinic in entrances and exits, singly, in pairs and groups, entering and dancing across the stage and exiting, left to right, right to left, over and over to Philip Glass's over and over music, right to left, left to right, and all accompanied by a projected film of the same dance being danced 50 years ago, and at times split screen cut so that you are seeing three levels of dance, top level film projection of, for instance, a tracking shot of the dance from 50 years ago, middle level a straightforward shot of the dance from 50 years ago, and then at the bottom on stage actual dancers. (In the photo above the live dancers are dancing behind the scrim where the sol lewotiz film is being projected.)

(A brand new Lucinda Childs dance was part of the Orange County Bolshoi event reported on in February (link)

But in this classic, Enter, cross the stage, exit. High minimalism is what the LA Times reviewer called it. Insert link. Another example of inventiveness, and integral to the dance, not a distraction.

(Glass inspires a certain step, Childs has some, Robbins, too, in his Glass Pieces. It's a cute step.)




In addition to the Big Apple Circus and the Red Sox at Fenway

Boston Ballet, April 30, 2011

Boston Opera House, Boston, Massachusetts

Choreography, Wm. Forsythe, The Second Detail; Helen Pickett, Part I, II, III; Jiri Kylian, Bella Figura.

I usually only pick up at best half of the dance at the first viewing and make up the difference at the second. In this case I get one shot, and here is my report, such as it is.

This is not beginner's work as an audience; there's very little called "dancey" in the sense of sweet ballet set in fantasyland; this is battle, battle rooted in neo-classical Balanchine inspired movement but set in the contested space that we call reality, the confrontation mania of our time, contests of sensuality and absurdity, the power trips and aggressiveness pervading our culture, the tension among genders.

Forsythe used a frequent music collaborator whose roaring electronic techo music is like a tiger's roar, to unsettle and intimidate. Pickett's dance was done to live accompaniment of Arvo Part's music. That is a privilege unto itself. And Kilian used Lukas Foss and a host of Baroque composers. No sugary Tchaikovsky here.

The Second Detail. Dancers enter the fray from sitting on a cube in a line of stackables, in some way even reminiscent of the stools used in the corners in a boxing match. And the fighting and the confrontation remains the motif. One thing I like about Forsythe is that often his dancers appear to be at rehearsal, just hanging around and suddenly they are deep into the fray, just the way life confronts us. Energy, power and speed, pairings and triplings, pas de deux and troi. In short bursts, quite exciting. (Don't know yet why the word THE is printed on a card downstage.)

Pickett's first two were sensual, fairytale-ish. Third part of three was Forsythe-like, interpreting through body and movement.

Kylian uses every bit of the stage, even the curtain to get his dancers to interpret his view of the body from birth to death.

Here's the NY times review: Boston Ballet's 'Bella Figura,' With a Forsythe Work - Review -

Portland, Maine

Portland Symphony Orchestra, May 1, 2011

Merrill Auditorium, Portland, Maine

Music: Prelude and Liebestod from Tristand und Isolde, Wagner

Concerto for Bassoon and Orchestra, Mozart

Daphnis et Chloe, Ravel

Conductor: Robert Moody

Awesome program. (Pound for pound this guy's programming is way more adventurous than what LA Phil is offering next season.) (I'm not very familiar with Wagner's operas, but I've heard orchestral work and liked it a lot, especially Siegfried-Idyll (written for his wife)). The Tristan und Isolde was similarly romantic. Hypnotizing orchestrations. And I've never seen a conductor smile at the orchestra the way Robert Moody does. Beautiful piece.

Don't like Mozart but to hear (and see) a bassoon in a solo role was a treat.

And then Ravel. Maurice Ravel. I've been fortunate this spring a) to have heard Ravel played live at all, and then b) to have heard Ravel played live in small venues, and then c) the Ravel heard live was some of my favorite pieces: the Mother Goose Suite played at the Lobero Theatre in Santa Barbara (link to that entry)and here at the Merrill in Portland, Maine, the Daphnis and Chloe suite. Orchestra was terrific, we missed the chorale because of the dipsydoodle main floor, but what pretty, pretty music.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Maria Schneider

Maria Schneider Orchestra, June 12, 2011

Libbey Bowl, Ojai


Part of the Ojai Music Festival. 11 a.m. concert, Sunday morning, haven't experienced that since Buenos Aires. Maria Schneider, a delightful woman. She is part of the Peter Sellars orbit, and was at the festival to premiere a piece in which he was involved and Dawn Upshaw, the soprano. But I've only been familiar with her jazz work, and I got lucky that since she was out here on classical per diem she'd bring along her orchestra and add some jazz to the mix. I like her music o.k. but sometimes it gets too smooth jazz for me. But I like the idea of Maria Schneider, how she studied with famous big band jazz arrangers, how she writes and records and performs with her own big band, her orchestra, so when she/they swing, it's extra special. Her crowd is old, although I noticed some younger ones in the picnic area. That's the festival part of it.