Thursday, March 06, 2008


One exciting possibility for this evening: the new ensemble M6 (featuring your congenial host at The Standing Room) is performing the music of Meredith Monk at Symphony Space. My experience of Monk's music is limited: I listened to Book of Days in college and caught part of the mammoth Monkathon at Zankel a year or two ago. What I can say, in particular from the perspective of an opera fan, is that her vocal music might be especially intriguing to our kind because of the way it limns the potential of the voice in areas mainstream classical singing basically leaves alone. Pieces like Dolmen Music, as I experience them, are the theater of sub-semantic utterance. In some way, it explores what we experience in the most primal way in what people say or sing to us. I don't think of it even so much as a tour of the instrumental possibilities of the voice, like some of George Crumb, so much as a lovely experiment about what happens on a psychological level when we hear or are spoken to (actually like other of George Crumb, come to think of it.) Also I said hi to her on the subway once and she was totally nice and did not mace me.

As this post explains, M6 is a group dedicated serving as the next link in the oral tradition of Monk's music. Concert's tonight at 7:30.


Anonymous said...

"Limns"? Oh, Maury -- such fashionable sprach!

Maury D'annato said...

I know, I know. In the back of my head, the "asshole" light flashed on when I typed "limns" but I was in a flowery mood. I think, to be honest, it was a matter of overcompensation for not having any very fine words for music I like but am not hyper-literate about. Ah well. Coming soon: dissertation-style subtitles and pretentious uses of parentheses in my subject lines!

Unknown said...

Maury, for it to truly be a dissertation-style title, it must involve one or maybe even two colons. We all get so excited when we manage to come up with a good paper title that doesn't have a colon in it.

(also: lol hello from the great state)

JSU said...

Hey Straussmonster, weren't you supposed to give us your impressions of Grimes?

Unknown said...

Mmmmyeah, but I somehow ended up on vacation now; my time before got eaten up with things like explaining basic crap to students and working on my dissertation. I'll try to get something written that I won't cringe to show to anyone else, but I think I may be traveling this weekend. I'd really love to get another go at it first, too; we'll see if I make the HD telecast on the 15th, or if I go engage in OPERATION PARTY HARD instead.

In short, one thing I found interesting and compelling about Griffey in the role is that he makes all of the music sound easy. You (the generic you) may not want a Peter Grimes who makes all the music sound easy, but I found it an interesting alternative. As much as I love and admire Vickers in the role, I find myself rebelling against the invocation of him as absolutely definitive. Griffey's mad scene, especially, was haunting and chilling.

And the lighting designer was really awesome.

alex said...

Oooo you've said hi to Meredith Monk!

I completely missed (because it was not highlighted) attending a composer's colloquium at school when she came to visit.


I was told it was incredibly inspiring. And not for the first time, I've thought about trying to contact her to study voice with her.

Ahhh dreams...

Which George Crumb are you thinking of with respect to the two vocal perspectives? I don't know many of his compositions.