Friday, March 30, 2012

Brittelle, Sirota, Mizrahi, and MnOrch musicians at Bryant Lake Bowl

Thursday, March 29, 2012: Bryant Lake Bowl Theater: William Brittelle, piano and voice; Michael Mizrahi, piano; Nadia Sirota, viola; MnOrch members Peter McGuire and Kenneth Freed, violin; Sam Bergman, viola; Eugena Chang, cello. Presented by Kate Nordstrum Projects and New Amsterdam Records.

Sign me up as a fan of indie classical, or whatever it's called (whatever any music is called these days is open to question, interpretation, and shouting). I liked very much what I heard in the theater at the Bryant Lake Bowl last night.

The room: intimate, cozy, with occasional bowling-alley din from the other side of the door, which is not quite soundproof enough. (Although, in a way, it adds to the charming and singular ambience of the place, and I'm kind of getting used to it.) The crowd: serious listeners.

The music: inventive, engaging, melodic, serious and fun. Playful. Expressive. Sometimes so beautiful it made me ache. Unusual: one piece was performed on just half of the piano--the keys above middle C. It made me hear the piano differently.

Brittelle, Mizrahi, and Sirota are friends of composer Judd Greenstein, whose commissioned work for orchestra, "Acadia," has its world premiere at Orchestra Hall tonight and tomorrow. He was in the house, and late in the evening, he thanked his friends for coming, thanked us all for being there, and remarked that he's not usually about music with full orchestra; he's more about music with small groups, played in small places like the BLB.

I loved that the evening gave us the chance to not only hear rising young NYC stars, but also members of our own great orchestra outside of the usual concert hall venue. It felt up close and personal. More, please.

The set list:

1 Judd Greenstein's "Ballade," performed by Mizrahi
2 Nico Muhly's "Period Instrument," performed by Sirota and Sirota (live and recorded)
3 Ryan Brown's "Four Pieces," performed by Mizrahi
4 Britelle's "Computer Wave," performed by Mizrahi
5 Muhly's "Drones and Viola," performed by Mizrahi and Sirota
6 Britelle's "TV Landscape," performed by Britelle on voice and piano; this large-scale work was reduced to an intimate acoustic version for the first time
7 Greenstein's "The Night Gatherers," performed by string quintet: Sirota, McGuire, Freed, Bergman, Chang

I wrote a brief review for today's Artscape column on MinnPost, under Out and about.

All photos by John Whiting.

Michael Mizrahi
William Britelle
Mizrahi and Nadia Sirota
The quintet

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