New Music Feed

MetLiveArts Presents Arvo Pärt's Kanon Pokajanen

by Nick Stubblefield

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Before even setting foot into the Metropolitan Museum of Art on Saturday night, I knew I was in for a one-of-a-kind concert experience. An eerie blue light, visible from the street, emanated through the large glass panels of the Temple of Dendur, flooding into the museum's backyard, Central Park. It was suddenly apparent that the long pilgrimage from Brooklyn had been well worth the trip.

Inside the hall, even more stunning vistas greeted me. The temple, usually seen by visitors during daylight, now glowed with warm orange light, the museum walls awash in blue.  The contrast suggested hints of fire and ice. Part of the audience sat in a U-shaped formation around the temple's archway, while the rest lined the outer perimeter of the room. The scene was meditative and spiritual -- and the music had not even started. 

The Westminster Williamson Voices processioned into the center, and with little delay began the opening ode to Arvo Pärt's Kanon Pokajanen, the work that would comprise the whole of the program, without interruption. The singers, all members of Rider University's Westminster Choir College, quickly established a confident, powerful presence with spacious, forte harmonies. Acoustics are a critical factor in any performance, live or recorded, but for the Kanon - a work for large, unaccompanied choir - they were a defining aspect of the presentation. The space itself, presumably designed without attention to acoustics, acted as an uncredited audio engineer for the ensemble, dialing in plenty of reverb without blurring the voices. 

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PUBLIQuartet at the Met Cloisters

by Hayley Douglas

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(Photo by The Juilliard School)

Last Saturday was a perfect fall day to visit The Met's Cloisters, situated within Fort Tryon Park on the northern end of Manhattan.  A beautiful walk above the Hudson River brought me to the complex of reconstructed medieval buildings, where I picked up my tickets and had time to walk around the galleries prior to an afternoon concert by the PUBLIQuartet in the Fuentidueña Chapel.

The PUBLIQuartet are serving as The Met's Quartet-in-Residence this season, during which they will perform seven concerts throughout the Met's various spaces. Their program at the Cloisters was part of their ongoing MIND|THE|GAP series, which seeks to build connections between traditional, modern and contemporary music. Here, the starting off point was the music of J.S. Bach, interspersed with contemporary works by Eugene Birman and Alfred Schnittke, as well as group improvisations that incorporated elements of rock and jazz.

It seemed that many of the audience members were confused by what they were listening to - a few even chose to leave at intermission - but the novelty of what the PUBLIQuartet was doing left most of us wanting more. Prior to each piece, a member spoke about the music and what it meant to them, providing valuable insight for this experimental format.

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New Music Wrap Up: The Parksville Murders, Vicky Chow, Mivos and Quiet City

Parksvill Murders-002It's been a bit busy this week, so here's a quick rundown of some new and interesting music I experienced at the end of last week.  

The Parksville Murders - Last Thursday, DIY opera heroes Opera on Tap presented a preview of Kamala Sankaram's The Parksville Murders. Billed as "the world's first VR episodic horror opera," visitors were directed to a space near the Manhattan Bridge in DUMBO where they were given headphones and a VR headset. Set in a dimly-lit room in the Catskills, the 15 minute opera - promised to be the first of a dozen or so episodes - starred Kacey Cardin as Corinne, who sang while lying in a bathtub filled with dead leaves. Another woman, Sarah, (Mikki Sodergren) soon appeared in the room, as did a group of mysterious, hooded “watchers.” As I sat there watching, I felt a palpable sense of unease as the shadowy figures appeared on all sides, even behind me. And, thanks some cutting edge audio technology from HEAR360, the sound I heard changed depending on where I was looking. A very cool beginning to what will hopefully become an extended evening of immersive opera.

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Ticket Giveaway: Steve Reich's 80th Birthday Concert at Carnegie Hall

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Next week, Carnegie Hall celebrates Steve Reich's 80th birthday with an all-Reich program that includes the world premiere of Pulse and a rare performance of the video opera Three Tales, written together with his wife, Beryl Korot. Conducted by David Robertson, the program features performances by ICE, So Percussion, and Synergy Vocals

Feast of Music has 3 pairs of tickets to giveaway to the concert on Nov. 1. Here's how to enter:

1. Email robert@feastofmusic.com    -OR-

2. Retweet our post with the hash tag #freetickets    -OR-

3. Head to our Facebook page and COMMENT on our giveaway post! 

Good luck!