Go out and listen to something…

February 19, 2007

Cleo Laine, John Dankworth, and John Adams at the Kennedy Center

Filed under: music — burnett @ 6:36 am

Well, not all at once.¬ Harmonielehre of John Adams was performed by the National Symphony Orchestra last week in the concert hall of the Kennedy Center.¬ This is a rockin’ tune, and I could have listened to it over and over.¬ ¬ For some reason, it required spoken words by Leonard Slatkin up front, always a mood chiller.¬ But the power of the performance and the piece itself overcame the wet blanket.¬ For those not familiar with the piece, it is a smorgasbord of licks and sounds, propelled by a relentless pulse for about 40 minutes, according to the program notes.¬ For the money I spent on the ticket (oh, uh, actually it was a comp)¬ I would have liked for them to fire it up again.¬ It is one of those turn off, tune in sort of extravaganzas, sort of like a bus ride throught the rockies.¬ Or in this case, a bus ride through some of the hipper music of the 20th century.¬ You just keep looking up at the different views of peaks and glaciers, rock formations, etc. in a sort of bewildered awe.¬ Or like a boat ride on Lake Como.¬ ¬

¬ In the same room appeared Cleo and John the very next night.¬ I sat next to someone with an unpleasant odor, but the performance helped me forget.¬ Not unlike the power of John Adams over a lecture by Leonard Slatkin.¬ As Loren Maazel says, “In opera, if you don’t have great singers, what’s the point?”¬ ¬ ¬ As everyone already knows, Cleo has a great voice, knows what to do with it, and has worked hand in hand with John Dankworth since the year I was born.¬

Last evening was about Shakespeare, sort of.¬ It was really about intelligent arranging combined with performance of¬ a pristine ¬ quality.¬ When they dragged out “It Don’t Mean a Thing” at the end, it was so innovative and clever, so stuffed with nifty little twists and turns, that I actually liked the piece.¬ ¬ Yet another Ellington piece, “Star-Crossed Lovers”, was played with a deft acknowledgment to Johnny Hodges.¬ But Dankworth brought his own patina to the solos…what a great player he is.¬

The audience was equal to the performers for this show.¬ The Shakespeare theme, based on their 1964 LP, “Shakespeare and all that Jazz”, catapulted this concert well past a jazz concert, cabaret, or what have you.¬ Concert of the decade, maybe.¬

No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Sorry, the comment form is closed at this time.

Powered by WordPress