Thursday, April 20, 2006

Vinny Golia: Music for Large Ensemble

That was the official title of the concert I was a part of last night. There was an official list of 47 of us, although I didn't count everyone last night, and I noticed at least one person missing.

A quartet consisting of Philip Greenlief, Jon Raskin, Chris Brown, and Tim Perkis opened the show, with the first two on saxophones and the second two on electronics. My taste in improvised music runs to the introspective, subtle, and atmospheric -- not so much the high-volume technical displays -- so there was a lot to like about their set. It was great to be able to hear each individual part clearly, and to hear such well-chosen sounds weave together. The four players were a nice energy combination too. Even the Glenn Campbell sample seemed to fit.

The large ensemble started setting up immediately afterward. Vinny Golia had brought his own instruments which he arranged around his conducting area. He has a Kingma bass flute, which he invited me to try, and I was tempted, but I didn't feel very good about leaving my own instruments unattended while such a big crowd of musicians and audience was milling around. I worried they'd be knocked over.

The show was well attended, which was awfully gratifying. There were some good introspective moments in the Large Ensemble set, too, in between the high-volume technical displays. I particularly enjoyed the efforts of the flute section: David Slusser, Maryclare Brzytwa, Philip Gelb, Tom Bickley, and me. Tom had a two-measure soprano recorder solo which, I was happy to find out, was still audible even with 47 people improvising. Or maybe it was audible because I was sitting right in front of him. ;) Phil played a beautiful shakuhachi solo.

Matt was there chatting up string players for his own Conduction gig on Sunday. I would be part of that if I weren't already committed out of town. I will be getting on a plane tomorrow morning to present at the Madison Area Flute Festival. I'm looking forward to seeing Caen Thomason-Redus and catching him up on everything, including the Fling piece I created with Shiloh.

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