Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró @ WFC 10/28/08

That was amazing. It was about 1.5 hours. Every single detail was very well done. They filmed it for WYNET and it will be aired on 11/11 at 11:00.

They started with a short interview with Bobby. He got the idea after he went to the Miró Retrospective at MOMA in 1993. He created this composition in 23 parts, for each painting. It was also supplemented with narration for some of the pieces that went very well. I also liked how they didn’t show the artwork on the screen the whole time the music was playing. I like to focus on the music and what is happening on stage.

I did buy the cd, which is released on Tzadik in the Composer Series. The booklet in there shows the 23 paintings. It’s phenomenal.

The personnel were a little different than what’s on the cd, but all of them are great.

I got my Ned Rothenberg bass clarinet. He also filled in the flute and soprano sax parts, which are played by Michel Gentile and Jane Ira Bloom on the CD. He was spectacular. The music that was written for these instruments had a lot to do with it. I think the bass clarinet and the soprano were probably my favorite parts in the stellar, everyone shines amazing work.

The people on the CD who were also performing last night were Wayne Horvitz on Rhodes, harmonica and electronics, Neal Kirkwood on piano and accordion , Ralph Alessi on trumpet, John Bacon and Bobby Previte on drums, gong, vibraphone, marimba, orchestra bells, chimes, and small percussion. Zeena Parkins played harp beautifully last night, Elizabeth Panzer plays it on the CD. We had Shane Endsley on the other trumpet last night instead of Lew Soloff. Christian Muthspiel conducted. Jamie Saft is on the CD on piano and rhodes, but wasn't there for the performance.

I loved the instrumentation. I loved the 2 trumpets and having both vibraphones and marimba. The cd says trumpet, flugelhorn, and piccolo trumpet. I don’t remember the other 2, but they were probably there and I wasn’t paying enough attention.

I was really sad to see it end. I highly recommend checking it out on WYNET on 11/11 at 11 AND I highly recommend the CD.

Here’s some more from Bobby’s website. There’s also some tracks up there and a documentary about the piece:

Projects: The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró

"In the bigger picture, it updates the very spirit of western composition"
- Ken Smith, GRAMOPHONE magazine.

Joan Miró was one of the twentieth century's greatest artists. The 23 "Constellation" paintings were perhaps his greatest achievement.
In 1993 the composer Bobby Previte went to the Miró Retrospective at the Museum of Modern Art and saw them all, (together for only the third time in history), and was stunned.

The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró is a cycle of 23 movements for each of the 23 "Constellation" paintings by the great artist Joan Miró, painted during World War II.

Commissioned by the City of Birmingham, UK, Constellations was performed in February 2004 on a seven-city tour of the United Kingdom, and at the Teatro Nationale in Milan Italy in May of 2005. The multi-media program is approximately one and one half hours long, and includes projected slides and text.

A CD on Tzadik Records is available worldwide.

You could sense a painterly hand at play in even the earliest bands and records put forth by percussionist and composer Bobby Previte, but The 23 Constellations of Joan Miró might just be his magnum opus. Inspired by his feverish reaction to an exhibition of tiny but explosive canvases by the Catalan painter, Previte accordingly constructed 23 short pieces, each one densely packed, profusely colored and just free enough to allow his players’ personalities to come through. And when your band includes Zeena Parkins, Ned Rothenberg, Ralph Alessi, Shane Endsley, Wayne Horvitz, Neal Kirkwood and John Bacon, you definitely want to give them room to glow.

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