Last night at Carnegie Hall, the New York based Grammy-Award winning classical music chamber orchestra the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra performed with the Wayne Shorter Quartet. The first part of the concert was with the Orchestra only.
The Orchestra first played the Beethoven’s Overture to The Creatures of Prometheus, Op. 43, and then Ives’ Symphony No. 3, The Camp Meeting. The Camp Meeting‘s three movements are Old Folks Gatherin’, Children’s Day and Communion. Ives’ music is delicate and inspired by American folk songs. The Camp Meeting quoted hymns such as “O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing,” (from the tune Azmon) “Just As I Am, Without One Plea,” (from the tune Woodworth), “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” (from the tune Erie), and “There Is a Fountain Filled with Blood (from the tune Cleansing Fountain). Gabriel Kahane, the Music Alive (a national residency program of the League of American Orchestras and New Music USA) Composer-in-Residence with Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, describes Ives as “an American Brahms – obsessively devoted to shifts in harmony that slip, fault-like, beneath the naive melodies that rest on the surface.” And he adds that “in Ives, these harmonic shifts have become even more daring, more vertiginous. In the Third Symphony, [Ives] has found a new American counterpoint, one that announces itself subtly and without great fanfare.”
Ives’ originality was probably a wonderful transition to the second part of the concert, which included the Wayne Shorter quartet this time (with Wayne Shorter on the saxophone, Danilo Perez on piano, John Patitucci on bass and Brian Blade on drums). Listening to the Wayne Shorter Quartet is always a mystical experience. The quartet performed Pegasus, The Three Marias and Prometheus Unbound. Patitucci also announced the premiere of a piece entitled “Lotus,” which was not mentioned in the program. Wayne’s melodic lines can be reminiscent of a trance to which the Orpheus Chamber Orchestra added a powerful sonic layer, an extension to Wayne’s world and musical imagination. Shorter, for whom “nothing is ever really finished,” redefines music by offering new rhythmic and melodic possibilities and reshaping tunes and musical ideas. Needless to add that his sidemen are more than up to the task.
Now, if you feel like being exposed to a different (but VERY informed) perspective on the show, check out Howard Mandel’s piece here: http://www.artsjournal.com/jazzbeyondjazz/2013/02/1218.html