I hadn't really read the listing, but I was interested in whatever Zeena wanted to do at Roulette. I think I expected a solo. I was thrilled to see the setup and performers when I walked in.
It was a large ensemble with interesting percussion and wineglass stations. John Zorn was there as an audience member. I also noticed a woman in the back of the performance area and it looked like she was wearing plastic wrap over her clothes. I thought it was some kind of fashion statement.
It started with the girl in the plastic wrap moving around in the back. She had a microphone strapped to her under the plastic. It sounded really cool. She had other interesting roles throughout that piece, like sawing cardboard. She was the prompter for the last piece as well.
Once the others started playing in the 1st piece, we had Ned Rothenberg on bass flute, another woman on flute, Zeena conducting, 2 trombones, and I think Anthony Coleman on piano. I can't quite remember if Coleman played during that piece or not. Ikue Mori was also there and was great throughout the whole thing.
That piece was called "We Got Lucky". An except from a soundtrack for DD Dorvilier's movie of the same name. Created for her piece, Notthing is Importanttt (sic). Premiered at The Kitchen in 2007.
After that, Zeena went to the harp, another guy came up to conduct, and 2 percussionists came up to play some drums. I loved the drum cadence and this was probably my favorite piece of the night. Anthony Coleman was definitely in this piece. This was probably my favorite of the night. It was called "Daldals pt 1 and 2". The listing says Puzzles/Multiple activities. Mancini meets Schoenberg at a 3 ring circus.
Next one of the drummers moved to the vibraphones. I can't remember what Ned was on, maybe clarinet. I know I was sad to see he didn't bring the bass clarinet, just the bass flute, flute, and clarinet.
The next piece was conducted by the same guy, and there was someone playing the vast array of wine glasses. Ned went over by the wineglass guy and played a keyboard. It was called "Thingworld" and was a piece for metal, glass and harp.
Then there was a 10-15 min intermission.
When they came back, they did a game where the girl that was wearing the plastic at the beginning was the prompter. It's called "Lace Piece" and is a generative work for any number of players based on 5 distinct pieces of lace and a set of stringent conditions.
Each player had a paper with the 5 pieces of lace glued to it. The prompter had 4 of those papers sitting out in front of her on the floor. They all looked the same to me. The lace pieces were all quite different. To me, an observer that's not a musician, it just seemed like a long improvised piece with 5 different parts. Here, there was another percussion station, we still had the wineglasses, vibes, Ned on bass flute and clarinet, the other flute, drum, Zeena on a different type of harp, Anthony Coleman, and the 2 trombones. For one of the 5 parts, it was just percussion playing.
The whole thing was good and I enjoyed it. I was very tired and it was the night it rained hard. Still, I'm glad I made it out for this.
ZEENA PARKINS: right after
Commissioned by Roulette with Funds from Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust
A dense array of crisp contours, sophisticated color studies and deskilled gestural marks, tonight Zeena Parkins presents a collection of pieces for four loudspeakers and large ensemble, including:
Christine Bard, Anthony Coleman, Erin Cornell, Miguel Frasconi, Christopher Mcintyre, Loren Parkins, Jim Pugliese, Josh Quillein, Ned Rothenberg, Jane Rigler, Jim Staley.