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August 2013

Update: Patrick Krief, Round Two at Union Hall

by Melanie Wong

image from

After a wildly discordant show at Bowery Electric, Patrick Krief challenged me to an aural rematch, and I accepted! Luckily for my ears, he gave a quietly soulful performance last week at Union Hall, where he performed songs from Hundred Thousand Pieces—this time as a small bluegrass-y trio, as opposed to a six-piece dirty rock mega-force.

Most importantly, the sound quality was dead-on, and his vocals delightfully captivating. I'm glad Mr. Krief and I were able to meet again, and it’s safe to say that we can chalk up his Bowery Electric performance to an off night in the wrong space. 

Chamber Band Energizes Late-Night Crowd at Spike Hill

by Laura Wasson

Chamber Band at Spike Hill 1

After my rollicking interview with Chamber Band last week, I was more excited than ever to finally see them live at Spike Hill this past Friday. Despite the midnight set time, the group delivered a strong, ebullient performance that held the crowd of friends, family, and ardent fans captive from start to finish. While watching the quintet, I had two revelations:

Revelation One:  Storytelling isn’t a lost art—it’s merely a dormant one. Chamber Band’s debut LP, Deities, exists in the world of Dungeons & Dragons, a game I’ve never played and know precious little about. Their close to hour-long set included, among others, “Shapeshifter,” “Oh Io,” and “Yeenoghu”—all songs that reference various DnD gods, monsters, and lovelorn peasants. Listening carefully to the lyrics, I realized that while DnD might serve as the starting point for each, it doesn’t confine the songs; it enriches them.

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Mostly Mozart: Langrée Leads Festival Orchestra in Mozart's Final Symphonies

by Michael Cirigliano II

Mostly Mozart, Louis Langree, Avery Fisher Hall

Hiroyuki Ito for The New York Times

Music Director Louis Langrée and the Mostly Mozart Festival Orchestra closed their much-heralded season in triumphant fashion Saturday night, presenting Mozart’s final three symphonies—a fitting (albeit familiar) end to a season that had already seen the ensemble traverse some new and interesting territory. (Interestingly enough, this was the same program Simon Rattle and the Berlin Philharmonic were presenting this weekend to open their new season nearly 4,000 miles away from Avery Fisher Hall.)

Composed in just six weeks during the summer of 1788, Mozart’s final testament to the symphonic form presents a varied collection of miniatures that revel in serenity, comedy, and fleeting hints of pathos. Given that Mozart penned another 75 works before his death in 1791, the final three symphonies maintain a sense of youthful buoyancy, far from the somber and autumnal feel of the Clarinet Concerto, Ave verum corpus, and Requiem. Although often performed as three separate entities, these symphonies, when presented together, form a virtuosic triptych—one that Alfred Einstein himself dubbed “an appeal to eternity.”  

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