exit through the gift shop – part III

in a program completely devoid of expected overtures, predictable symphonies, and traditional concertos, it seemed fitting the band got to perform a true rarity last weekend: music from a composer who is [wait for it…] still alive!  that’s right, 80-year-old sofia gubaidulina is alive and well and living in hamburg.  it’s worth noting that the composer came of age in the censor-happy soviet republic, and during her studies at moscow’s conservatory, the 20-something sofia was encouraged by a certain professor dmitri shostakovich to “continue down her mistaken path.”  gubaidulina clearly took the coded compliment and ran with it, spending a lifetime creating curiously mystical music using über-uncommon instrumental combinations.  monday night’s fantastical fairytale poem at the schnitz was no exception, offering an opportunity for folks to describe the music as fingernails on a blackboard and sincerely intend the comment as a flattering remark.  upon returning from intermission, guest maestro cee-miggz lovingly introduced the piece by sharing the story that inspired the composition – essentially an existential version of the little chalk who could written by shel silverstein’s czech doppelgänger.  os concertmaster peter frajola helped to keep the intimate chamber ensemble tight, leading his small battalion of strings through an eerie intro that sounded downright mahlerian.  for the next 12 minutes or so, the band presided over a quiet prayer punctuated by moments of despondency and apathy, quite beautiful and quite strange.  big beavertail salutes go out to carol hammering it out on the steinway, yoshinori wailing it on the clarinet, and jessica totes blowing it up on the flute.  i’ll never hear anything like it again.  amen.

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