The Brooklyn Philharmonic continued its reboot season at the initimate Galapagos Art Space Wednesday night with a show that was technically more chamber recital than orchestra concert (as they've been doing at their occasional Off-the-Wall concerts at the Brooklyn Museum.) In this case, it was the orchestra's annual Outside-In concert, featuring new works by four composers, none of whom were from the traditional classical/contemporary music world. In comments before the concert, Brooklyn Phil Artistic Director Alan Pierson - himself a contemporary/crossover specialist - said that Outside-In was one of the most important events on the orchestra's calendar, having commissioned early classical-esque pieces from NewAm types like Corey Dargel and Darcy Argue long before Judd's experiments with the Ecstatic Music Festival.
All of the works on the program were centered around a string quartet made up of BPhil players Deborah Buck, Deborah Wong, Veronica Salas, and Chris Finckel. Charlie Looker, formerly of the noise-chamber cooperative Zs and current lead of Extra Life, added 3/4 of his band Seaven Teares to the mix to perform "Eve's Prayer", with Russell Greenberg on percussion, Anne Rhodes and Amirtha Kidambi on vocals, and Charlie himself on electric guitar. Looker told us beforehand that he's eventually looking to develop "Eve's Prayer", with its dark lyrics concerning Apocalypse and the Feminine, into a full-scale opera.
Jeremiah Lockwood's "As Long as the Breath Rattles My Bones" was a love letter of sorts to his mentor, blues singer Carolina Slim, with whom he used to play on the streets and subways of NYC. Lockwood played recordings of Slim imparting his octogenarian wisdom ("When you're young and you go through things, you don't forget") over reels and waltzes cut from the same American tapestry as Copland and Barber. It was cinematic and arresting, not unlike Steve Reich's early tape pieces.
Randy Woolf, who served as composer-mentor for the younger composers, followed with his own "Dream Manifold", featuring his frequent collaborator (and spouse) Kathy Supove, who banged away on the piano with her familiar fury while the quartet employed lots of phasing and other extramusical techniques.
The wild card of the evening was the Forrest Gump-like performance/visual artist Tim Fite, who claimed in an onstage interview with Woolf that he couldn't even read music, much less write it. "I make my music out of other people's music," Fite says in this promo video. "I steal things. I mush things together."
Written from the same puckish perspective as Dan Deacon's recent compositional experiments, Fite's "Copy Cat" was a full-on mulitmedia experience, telling the tale of a prodigal cat who runs away and soon finds himself in all sorts of trouble. Employing everything from a perfectly-synched video to audience call-and-response, it was irreverent, raw - and completely fucking hilarious. I swear, I don't know if I've ever laughed so hard at a supposedly-classical concert. Where did they find this guy?
More pics on the photo page.