Halfway to an Appalachian Spring

It is not at all unreasonable to question my ability to give an unbiased account of an Odysseus Chamber Orchestra performance.  I am invested in the success of this group.  Throw in the fact that I went to high school with Amiti Perry and I wouldn't blame you for asking for a polygraph.  My obvious bias aside, the performance on April Fool's Day by the Odysseus Chamber Orchestra and Amiti Perry's company was simply wonderful.  (I was going to say it was no joke, but I thought I'd be serious for a second...don't worry, it won't last long.)
The first half of the show consisted of pieces from J.S. Bach, Benjamin Britten, Astore Piazzolla, Maurice Ravel, and Pavel Karmanov.
Jason, the Orchestra's Art Director and Maestro, generally give a short lesson at the beginning of each show with information about the composer(s), the piece(s) being performed, and/or the style of music.   This show was no exception and, bonus, it was punctuated with brief glimpses of Jason's talent as a musician as well as conductor and teacher.
The first piece was Cello Suite No. 1 by Bach and was beautifully performed by Ben.  Each movement in the Cello Suites, as was common with Baroque musical suites, was created around a dance style of the time.  Suite No. 1 is the prelude, followed by allemande, courante, sarabande, two minuets, and gigue.  This piece was inspired by Yo Yo Ma's performance with a kabuki dancer.  As was the tradition in ancient China, the dancer, though portraying a female, was a male.
The two female dancers in this piece had their own gender bucking moments and performed traditionally male movements, such as lifts.  Unfortunately I was caught up in being an audience member instead of a photographer and missed photographing many of the wonderful moments the dancers had.  In particular the was a lift, a relatively simple lift, but visually striking...missed it.  Sorry girls, but congratulations to Rebecca and Erin for moving me to the point of distraction.
Amiti Perry took the stage for a solo to Britten's Night Piece, performed by Misha on the piano.  Luckily I managed to pull myself together enough to thoroughly enjoy the music and dance while still taking several photographs.
Amiti's performance was unchoreographed which paired well with the raw emotions in Britten's pastoral style.  Jason stated that Britten was influenced by Debussy and Schoenberg in his search for a different sound.
Piazzolla's tango piece was one of my favorites.  Latin music always seems to seduce you into dancing.   Coupled with the red stage lights and a modern take on the traditional tango dress, Jason and Amiti created a saucy work of art.
Piazolla fused "Tango, Classical, and Jazz" (Jason Lim) and created Tango Nuevo.  Like the fusion of three different styles, these three dancers, Annalise, Reyna, and Jasmine, moved independently but yet together across the stage as Marina and Misha paired the violin and the piano.
Ravel's String Quartet in F Major. ii. Assez Viv was up next.  Jason described Ravel as an "Impressionist composer" who ignored the rules of music theory in his exploration of sound and mood.  His interest in color was mimicked by the use of the red and green stage lights and made for a visually stimulating piece.
The choreography featured A'Ebonee leading and moving the other dancers, creating these brief, stylized portraits of bodies.
And ends with her being subject to and rejecting the same treatment from the other dancers.
Karmanov's piano quintet, Michael Music, closed out the first half of the show.  Like Karmanov's minimalistic style utilizing "repetitive harmonies, notes, and motivs" (Jason Lim), the choreography for this piece repeated movements.
Both the composer and choreography were able to create new sounds and sights even while using a limited pallet.  The musicians Misha, Marina, Keryreel, Jason, and Ben created a beautiful sound to accompany Tony, Annalise, Lydia, and Elle.
And we're going to end with this photograph, which I realize is completely out of focus, but was a wonderful accident.  There's motion and a splash of almost aqua green in a sea of beige and blush.

Posted in , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. RSS feed for this post.

Leave a Reply

Swedish Greys - a WordPress theme from Nordic Themepark. Converted by LiteThemes.com.