In Brief: barmusic
Somehow I never managed to scrawl* a few words about the barmusic concert a couple weeks back. I didn’t go in with reviewer’s ears on, but there’s still no good reason for this neglect, especially as EKB and I enjoyed the concert.
It was a grab-bag of a program. Almost all of the music seemed to revel in the act of performance, from Erwin Schulhoff’s 1925 Duo for Violin and ‘Cello to pieces from the postminimal repertoire of the Robin Cox Ensemble by Cox and Joseph Koykkar. Shaun Tilburg threw himself into the role of musician/actor for Songs I-IX by Stuart Saunders Smith, a mix of Gertrude Stein-like textual absurdisms and John Cage’s kitchen sink percussion works. The Rosta Jazz Avengers had a brief set that consisted of a long-limbed free composition and a short (and less-successful) tune.
Only Ligeti’s short Hommage à Hilding Rosenberg leaned more toward the “composerly,” though in its intricate polyphony of double- and triple-stops the piece did draw attention to the amazingly broad sound produced by the two strings. Its intense brevity made a good excuse to hear the work twice, leading off each half of the program. The two members of the Enso Quartet who played the Ligeti created an engrossing sound world that seemed to stretch time; I was shocked to see the piece clock in at only 1’09” on the CD I have at home.
The laid-back and involved crowd at the Axiom, a roadhouse-cum-indy theater space with a ramshackle wooden bar in one corner and the stage in another, made for a nice change from most of the concerts I’ve been to this past year. And I’m fully in favor of “drinks allowed” concerts.
See also: Houston Chronicle
* A word I’ve always liked, but becoming sadly anachronistic.