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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 25th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

BARGEMUSIC REVISITED.

We posted the following two weeks ago, and said at the time that we will return to the Barge that is moored at Fulton Ferry Landing under the Brooklyn Bridge in Brooklyn, NY.

Our target was going to be “The HERE AND NOW Series in Celebration of Terry Riley’s 75th Birthday.

See also www.bargemusic.org

Our previous posting was:

UPDATED – With Climate Change and a local government that does not care, a decreasing quality of public transportation, scorched at 103 F (39.4 C), New York City has nevertheless BARGEMUSIC. The Innovative spirit of its people does not give up. Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on July 13th, 2010
by Pincas Jawetz ( PJ at SustainabiliTank.com)
Posted in Art Performance reviews, Eco Friendly Tourism, Future Events, New York, Reporting From the UN Headquarters in New York ?
 Meher Baba.

The performers where THE VOXARE QUARTET that included: Emily Ondracek-Peterson and Galina Zhdanova – violins,
Erik Peterson – viola, and Adrian Daurov – cello. The spirited young performers seemed to enjoy thoroughly the event and took turns in explaining the music’s background – something that in itself enhanced the audience’s understanding and enjoyment.

Legendary American composer, Terry Riley – DigiDan, 18 Mar 2010

Terrence Mitchell Riley, born June 24, 1935, in California, is an American composer associated with the minimalist school of Western classical music. He is usually mentioned together with Steve Reich and Philip Glass. However – His most influential teacher, however, was Pandit Pran Nath (1918–1996), a master of Indian classical voice, who also taught La Monte Young and Marian Zazeela. Riley made numerous trips to India over the course of their association to study and to accompany him on tabla, tambura, and voice. Throughout the 1960s he traveled frequently around Europe as well, taking in musical influences and supporting himself by playing in piano bars, until he joined the Mills College faculty in 1971 to teach Indian classical music.
Riley was awarded an Honorary Doctorate Degree in Music at Chapman University in 2007.

The Voxare presenters took the stand that it is incorrect to call Terry Riley a minimalist and at times it seemed indeed that he simply expanded classic music by introducing new elements and being ready to experiments that when picked up later by other composers led to the revolutionary 1960s in American music.

The first piece on Friday –  “Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector,” was composed in 1980 for the Kronos Quartet, a result of a longtime collaboration of Mr. Riley’s and included improvisations based on North Indian raga instead of formal composition, but then we were told that at Kronos’s insistence he notated the score for “Sunrise.” Still, as Ms. Ondracek explained gaily, he wrote sections of the score on different sheets of paper so the performers could decide the order of performance. The Voxare Quartet offered a high-energy performance, vividly conveying the work’s beautiful angles. It started with something that sounded like American folklore fiddles and felt like a wakening up. The two Russian-background violinist ladies really tore into the music with gusto, followed by the cello and then the viola. I got the impression that the music was debating with itself and had a lot of internal life. Eventually we had a return to the opening notes. Was this the improvisation of Voxare?

The second piece on Friday was the 1960 String Quartet. That was pure minimalism – or I do not understand the term. It was about the San Francisco Harbor foghorns. The sound came mainly from the cello, and the whole piece, considering the Barge-location was the most appropriate thing you could imagine The barge was swaying as there was a bit of rain outside – and it was a foghorn – pure and simple.

The third piece on Friday was “The Wheel / Mythic Birds Waltz.” This piece is post-Indian period of Mr. Riley and it was a result of improvisation on a piano with Indian and Jazz references and I felt that at times moved over to sound like bells and a Bela Bartok  gypsy ending.

After Intermission, on Friday, the fourth piece was G-song that  in effect was the result of a commission he got for music for a French movie. It had sort of a melancholic feeling to it and I wonder what was that movie about.

The fifth Terry Riley piece we heard on Sunday – it was “Cortejo Funebre en el Monte Diablo” from his 1998 “Requiem for Adam” the son of David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet. Young Adam died of a heart ailment.

The music starts with bell sounds and a tape of trumpets moves in. It turns out that what we hear are electronically generated sounds – this is music of a different kind. The violins move in – then the quartet stops and the funeral proceeds. It was an all around fascinating piece.

David Harrington formed Kronos after hearing George Crumb’s Black Angels, a powerful piece about the Vietnam war; ever since he has sought to give voice to twentieth century composers all over the world. At this moment there are hundreds of pieces being commissioned by them.

The Kronos have performed pieces by Thelonious Monk, John Zorn, Philip Glass, Charles Ives, Dmitri Yanovsky, Scott Johnson, Terry Riley, and a slew of European and African composers. With a balance of fervid dedication, spirituality, and a liberal sense of humor, the Kronos Quartet have taken on the awesome responsibility of saving an entire musical universe.

They have released Howl U.S.A, a grim portrait of the dark side of America, in which the The Kronos passionately accompany the voices of J. Edgar Hoover, Harry Partch, I.F. Stone, and Allen Ginsberg.

For the past twenty years the Kronos Quartet have performed music that expresses the anxiety, tension, ferocious energy and mystic yearnings in the twentieth century.

Single-handed they have saved a genre (the string quartet) that was well on its path to extinction.

With a cover Jimi Hendrix’s Purple Haze, spiffy outfits, and hip hairdos they have widened the audience of quartet music from those who were well schooled in public classrooms about classical music, to those who barely get the Bugs Bunny “Kill the Wabbit” reference to Wagner. Baby boomers and hip college students flock to the Kronos, craving music that is truly contemporary — a bracing change from dinosaur genres like classic rock. Terry Riley loved what they were doing.

The sixth Riley piece, or the second on Sunday, was “Cadenza on a Night Plain.” This is a masterpiece of early 1994 with Upper Mid-West and Native America influences. Each section is different – a different Cadenza. Mr. Peterson, the viola player, likened his section as “March of the Old-Timers.” He said that the directions say “Stoned Enthusiasm” then “Marching to more serious matters” – “which might mean smoking reef.”

————–

The add-ons were:

The Lou Harrison’s – 1917-2003 – striking “String Quartet Set” (1979), “Variations on Walter von der Vogelweide” revealed, we were told, Mr. Harrison’s joint interest with Terry Riley in nature and old music. The score had  five-movement piece ranges from the melancholy “Plaint” to the exuberant “Estampie,” which uses the cello as a percussive instrument. The performance was excellent, with distinctive contributions from each player. It ended with Usul – or a Turkish coda.

Steve Reich, the opening piece on Sunday, “Different Trains” of 1988 – for String Quartet and Tape – the Tape at times being just talk and at other times further sound.

Steve Reich, born in 1936, was recently called  “our greatest living composer” (The New York Times), “America’s greatest living composer.” (The Village VOICE), “…the most original musical thinker of our time” (The New
Yorker) and “…among the great composers of the century” (The New York Times)…  www.stevereich.com/

The particular piece we hear on Sunday has to do with his upbringing that involved commuting by train between New York and Los Angeles as his divorced parents, both of them, shared in custody over him – so – he was having this privilege of traveling often – coast to coast by train. That was until 1942 – eventually he learned about refugees from Europe arriving to New York and going also by train to the West Coast or wherever.

The piece has three parts – America before the war – Europe during the war – America after the war.

This is not just about a Jewish boy shuttling between his two parents – but about Holocaust and its effects – the fortunate ones traveling on the same train with him – here in the US.

It is a clearly difficult concept but he came up with some appropriate music. At times it sounded to me like Robert Wilson’s shows – whoever the composer – perhaps Philip Glass? There is a repetitiveness in the background that does not allow us to forget!

The second part – in what I heard – ended in Smoke. The instrumentation called for violins being stroked by the bows backwards – the resultant sounds quite unusual.

The third part – after the war – had happier sounds.

THE WHO –

The piece is based  on Graceland and Pete Townshend with a concept of a commune Rock farm in Ireland had it at 90 minutes length but Maher Baba reworked it and we had delightful 7 minutes. It was a real winner.

It started with Mr. and Mrs. Peterson fiddling with gusto the viola and violin and no joke – it seemed that as they went on with more force, the barge reacted and started to sway stronger – then a huge barge showed up and we realized that this was not from heaven. The piece was a clear winner and the applause laud.

 www.google.com/search?client=gmai…

Baba O’Riley” is a song by the English rock band The Who, written by Pete Townshend.

Roger Daltrey sings most of the song, with Pete Townshend singing the middle eight: “Don’t cry/don’t raise your eye/it’s only teenage wasteland”. The title of the song is derived from this combination of the song’s philosophical and musical influences: Meher Baba and Terry Riley.

Townshend originally wrote “Baba O’Riley” for his Lifehouse project, a rock opera that was to be the follow-up to The Who’s 1969 opera, Tommy. The song was derived from a nine minute demo, which the band reconstructed. “Baba O’Riley” was going to be used in the Lifehouse project as a song sung by Ray, the Scottish farmer at the beginning of the album as he gathers his wife Sally and his two children to begin their exodus to London.

When Lifehouse was scrapped, many of the songs were released on The Who’s 1971 album Who’s Next.

“Baba O’Riley” became the first track on Who’s Next. The song was released as a single in several European countries, but in the United States and the United Kingdom was only released as part of the album.

Baba O’Riley Lyrics
Artist(Band):The Who

Out here in the fields
I fight for my meals
I get my back into my living.

I don’t need to fight
To prove I’m right
I don’t need to be forgiven.
yeah,yeah,yeah,yeah,yeah

Don’t cry
Don’t raise your eye
It’s only teenage wasteland

Sally, take my hand
We’ll travel south cross land
Put out the fire
And don’t look past my shoulder.

The exodus is here
The happy ones are near
Let’s get together
Before we get much older.

Teenage wasteland
It’s only teenage wasteland.
Teenage wasteland
Oh, yeah
Its only teenage wasteland
They’re all wasted!

——————————————–

A trip to the lower levels of Brooklyn Heights is always a joy not to be missed. Slowly, the area is being reclaimed from the old port slips. Next to the barge there is the Ice Cream Factory, and on the other side the Bridge Cafe. You can get a bite and sip wine in the open – be it 98 degrees Fahrenheit. Further there is the Bridge Restaurant.

If you love Pizza – the best this side of the ocean is to be had at GRIMALDI’S – old country – real Coal-Brick Oven Pizzeria “Under the Brooklyn Bridge.” But know ye all – the lines to this pizzeria are a block long and you can rent a chair for two dollars if you prefer to sit rather then stand in line. But, trust me – it is worth the effort – once in your life-time. For me it was a Pizza pie with extra cheese and fresh garlic cloves and a Peroni beer for a total of $28.

If you really do not want to undergo the above – let me suggest the Tutt Cafe – as in King Tutt – www.tuttcafe.com, at 47 Hicks St. where I got an excellent Merguez Pitza (that must be the old Egyptian spelling of the pie, and the Merguez is Moroccan lamb sausage), and my wife got a spicy Falafel Wrap (not a pocket) – all of it for $16 total.

——————————————-


Richard Termine for The New York Times

Voxare Quartet: From left, Emily Ondracek, Galina Zhdanova, Adrian Daurov and Erik Peterson playing a Bargemusic concert in Brooklyn. The East River in the background. The picture was taken at the Friday night concert. During the Saturday afternoon concert – there was some rain and the visual effect grey.

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