I got to sit close enough to pinch Graeme Langager’s calves at the Phoenix concert tonight (Or as I’ve taken to calling him, “Lanananananagrrrrrrrrrr”). He had his back turned to an audience that, let’s be honest here, probably would have been too timid to rat me out. There were some powerful show-stoppers in that hall and it was a strange experience to feel uncomfortably out of place when I “w00ted” once during the applause between pieces. After hearing Penderecki’s spleen-sundering 22 note cluster-chord at the climax of his Agnus Dei, the polite applause felt like we were giving a lollipop to a man who just crawled out of a burning building.
Aside from the Penderecki, the other take-away piece on the program was by prolific Japanese composer-conductor Ko Matsushita. I find myself punishingly critical of pieces written by composers who think that an ostinato is a lesser art and I’m quite happy I don’t have to bust out the red ink here. His piece, O lux beata Trinitas, was secure study on the partnership of rhythm and anticipation. It didn’t pander to us but it also had that mystic element of groove (Mastered by many and understood by none). Coupled with some refreshingly reckless harmonies, his music really cooked the house.
Great concert. Where were you?