Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Janus @ The Stone 11/11/08

I went to the 10pm set at The Stone. I had no idea who was on the bill, but I like to be surprised sometimes. I know that the 1st half of this month is full of stuff I’m not familiar with, including the curator, Brad Lubman. I just did a little googling, and I see he’s a composer and music teacher in the new music classical realm.

Janus is an interesting ensemble. It consists of a viola, flute, and harp. It was interesting to check out even though I’m not as into classical. The “new” part made me more interested. It’s interesting that in Germany, most of the listings had jazz/classical listed under one category. This music seemed to be in between those 2 somewhere. I also found it interesting they only played pieces composed by other people. That was different from most new music ensembles. I found out why this morning and here’s the answer:
janus is named after the mythological greek god whose double-faced image looks to the past and to the future. Likewise, janus is dedicated to performing pieces from the past and commissioning new works that they believe will become significant contributions to the trio repertoire. janus likens itself to a museum for modern trio music, showcasing not only the music itself through live performance, but also bringing the composers to the audience through pre-concert talks and interviews. janus is dedicated to bridging the gap that exists between performer, composer and listener.

Now I’m a little more interested. I like the concept of bringing the performer, composer, and listener together more. Ooh, I need to qualify that a bit. I like it sometimes. I hate too much "wave your hands in the air, now clap, now do this dance, now sing", etc. that gets old quick.

Our particpation piece was well done and definitely not too much. The last piece had 4 movements, and for the last one, we listeners were given plastic bags to crumple softly as part of the piece. It sounded good.

My favorite was the first piece, I felt very alive with that one. The 2nd one was a solo alto flute piece with some electronics. That was fascinating because I didn’t realize there was such a thing as an alto flute. Then, we got a viola/harp duo that I enjoyed a lot. There were a couple more I can’t remember. The last one, with the 4 movements had other interesting things going on like playing bottles with drumsticks and having some kind of wood sticks on the floor to hit lightly with their feet while they played their instruments.

It’s always nice to see something different with a whole new concept when it’s played by good musicians.
JanusAmanda Baker (viola) Nuiko Wadden (flute) Beth Meyers (harp)Featuring music by Anna Clyne, Jason Treuting, and Caleb Burhans

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