suite tooth – part II

after spending intermission awashed in the afterglow of quirine viersen, i returned to my seat (seriously, i’ve started thinking about good ol’ n6 as my seat i graciously allow others to use on occasion), unaware that maestro carlos was about to grant me my wish for more ambient composers.  a.j. kernis created “newly drawn sky” in 2005, making it the most contemporary piece of music the symphony will perform this classical season.  according to the program notes for this work, the composer was inspired by an ever-changing display of summer sky along the ocean at dusk… i’m guessing it was near the same stretch of beach on which phil glass saw einstein.  honestly, it is not the kind of music i would listen to at home (unless i was in the proper state of mind); however, being a part of a live performance was stunning.  collectively, we the audience were purified  through ethereal strings and clean percussion – my kind of church.  the night ended further up the musical coast, right by the docks with lenny bernstein’s “on the waterfront” suite.  essentially bits of his original movie soundtrack sewn together, bernstein’s suite opens with a lone, dignified horn declaring the insistent theme of the score.  eventually the tune is interrupted by an increasingly crazed drummer and the band goes full throttle – think gershwin meets japanese taiko meets the sharks/jets street fight… several times i expected either the musicians to yell out “mambo!” or the principal violist to pull a switchblade on carlos.  almost as if to make up for the whisperings of the kernis, the orchestra got to be really loud lots of times (which btw i have to say is really fucking awesome and never gets old).  the infectious main melody goes through many incarnations, at one point emerging very atmospheric in style and developed beautifully by the flute.  after several turns of warm swelling by the strings, bright interjections by the crisp horns, and  over-caffeinated timpanists (i wonder if percussionists love bernstein as much as they love mahler), the credits roll and this music draws to a frightful close… i suppose we’ll get more than our fair share of triumphant endings this coming weekend.


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