Monkey See, Monkey Listen
"Put On Cronkite"

My Other Backyard


I thoroughly enjoy that I live in a neighborhood where, on consecutive nights, you can hear a pair of world-class musical organizations perform free outdoor shows mere steps from your stoop. On Wednesday, the New York Philharmonic paid its annual visit to Prospect Park, playing Mozart and Beethoven to a large, mostly-enthusiastic crowd. (I hung out in the back, where the music happily took a back seat to conversation.) Alan Gilbert, the Phil's incoming music director, conducted, which says a lot about his community-oriented mindset relative to other Phil directors. And, give the Phil props for keeping the fireworks show going, even in this down economy. 

Last night, Celebrate Brooklyn had Kronos Quartet on their bill, playing a mixed program of new works and "old " favorites from their repertoire. Among the selections were several from local composers, prompting Kronos founder David Harrington to exclaim that Brooklyn is the most exciting musical place in the world. "There's as much incredible music being written here as there was in Vienna at the turn of the last century." Among those were Bryce Dessner's fiery Aheym, JG Thirlwell's creepy Nomatophobis, and the world premiere of  Missy Mazzoli's Harp and Altar, which featured Gabe Kahane's voice, exploding over the quartet in an electronic stutter. Michael Gordon's Potassiumm, written in the aftermath of 9/11, was harsh and brutal, like a mouth full of gravel. And Cafe Tacuba's 12/12 (Arr. Golijov) was a melange of beats, recorded street sounds, and the quartet spinning out of control. The encore, an excerpt from Clint Mansell's dark score to Requiem for a Dream, was an odd way to end, but at least it had that old Brooklyn connection going for it. (More pics below.)