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John Luther Adams' “songbirdsongs” at Galapagos

Post and photos by BonnieLe-train-blue-john-luther-adamsWho knew you could feel immersed in nature at a Brooklyn club? The five percussionists and six piccolo players of Le Train Bleu accomplished just that at Galapagos on Saturday with a performance of  John Luther Adams' “songbirdsongs” (1974-1980).  Many have spoken of Adams’ affinity for minimalism, but in reality, his rich, organic music fills spaces both small and large (see last summer's performance of “Inuksuit” in Morningside Park). 

"songbirdsongs" consists of nine discrete movements which flow together, lasting just under an hour. In this performance, each song was accompanied by visuals of nature scenes projected both on the back of the stage and above the seating area. The music was calm and atmospheric, save for the penultimate movement, which was accompanied by a loud bass drum at the rear of the room, kettle drums and clappers onstage, and piccolos wildly chirping from all three sides of the balcony.  

The final movement brought gentleness back to the fore, with a violin in the center of the room that conjured a shimmering winter scene, along with with bowed cymbals, kalimba, and chimes, signifying yet another cycle of nature’s seasons completed. 

More pics below.

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