Monthly Archives: May 2016

Mark Gresham on ArtsATL: May 2016

Collected links of reviews and articles of the month on ArtsATL.com:

Nicole Cabell and Jesús Leon as the star-crossed young lovers.

Nicole Cabell and Jesús Leon as the star-crossed young lovers.

9 MAY 2016 • Review: The Atlanta Opera uses a strong cast for new twists on “Romeo and Juliet” [ArtsATL]
 
photo by Jeff Roffman
Morris Robinson went from the gridiron to the opera stage.

Morris Robinson went from the gridiron to the opera stage.

10 MAY 2016 • Preview: ASO operatic bass Morris Robinson sings to honor Martin Luther King Jr. [ArtsATL]
 
photo by Ron Cadiz
Christopher (left) and Charles Rex.

Christopher (left) and Charles Rex.

19 MAY 2016 • Review: ASO’s Christopher Rex is focus of “Concerto” film on family dysfunction [ArtsATL]
 
photo uncredited
The Naughton twins perform with the ASO, led by Joseph Young.

The Naughton twins perform with the ASO, led by Joseph Young.

23 MAY 2016 • Review: ASO pays tribute to Jane Little, orchestra [subscription concert] led for first time by Joseph Young [ArtsATL]
 
photo by Jeff Roffman

Sonic Generator concert at MOCA-GA engages with 5 solos and an ensemble finale

by Mark Gresham | 26 MAY 2016, Atlanta, GA

Sonic Generator performs “ACDC” by Michael Gordon.

Sonic Generator performs “ACDC” by Michael Gordon. (credit: Mark Gresham)


Georgia Tech-based new music ensemble Sonic Generator presented a free concert on Monday evening in the downstairs gallery of the Museum of Contemporary Art–Georgia (MOCA-GA). The program consisted of five works for solo musicians then concluded with a work played the whole ensemble.

The show kicked off with flutist Jessica Peek Sherwood performing “It” (2012) by Dutch avant-garde composer Jacob TV (Jacob ter Veldhuis). Like many of his works, Jacob TV built “It” around samples of the human voice, in this case based on a 1928 newsreel of Helen Keller and her teacher Anne Sullivan. The accompanying soundtrack and video consisted primarily of the voices and images of Helen and Ann, fragmented into sentences, words and syllables. In its climactic concluding moments, Sherwood spoke breathlessly between her played notes, Keller’s final word of the film’s dialogue: “I… am… not… dumb… now!”

Violinist Helen Hwaya Kim played the first two of John Harbison’s “Four Songs of Solitude” (1985), his only work for unaccompanied violin. The first was gentle and flowing in demeanor, the second paired a simple folk-like melody with a more athletic second motif. Cellist Brad Ritchie performed Steve Reich’s “Cello Counterpoint” (2003), a challenging work notable for its exceedingly tight, fast-paced rhythmic figures, in its version for live solo cello and a soundtrack of seven pre-recorded cellos.

Pianist Tim Whitehead performed “Shadows” (2015) by Atlanta composer Jason Freeman, involving an interactive computer-based score, with Whitehead reading it from the screen, which changed in response to Whitehead’s playing. Each of its four movements explored the interaction from a different perspective. Clarinetist Ted Gurch followed with “It Goes Without Saying” (2007) by Nico Muhly, which felt astonishingly organic despite the more electronic character of its accompanying soundtrack.

The concert concluded with the sole ensemble piece, “ACDC” (1996) by Michael Gordon, one of the founders of Bang-On-A-Can, in which the vivid interplay of polyrhythms was the predominant feature. Taken all together, the concert was consistently indicative of the ensemble’s penchant for high-quality performances. It made for an engaging evening.

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