Saturday, April 26, 2008

Damase and a composer LIVE

I rediscovered the transcendence of live classical music last week. A friend from church is a talented oboist and a member of the trio, La Senorite!. The trio performed four twentieth-century pieces at The Gershwin Hotel (click on the link to see some crazy exterior design!)

The evening's menu:
Sonata for Flute, Oboe and Piano {Jean-Baptiste Loeillet}
Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano {Jean-Michel Damase}
Sonata Notturna, Op. 71 {James Cohn}
Trio for Flute, Oboe and Piano {Madeline Dring}

I favored the Damase piece with its mournful dissonance and subtle rhythms. You can download it free here.

But, as much as I liked Damase, I went numb with excitement when James Cohn stood to introduce his piece. I was incredulous; a real, live composer standing just ten-feet from me! Afterwards, I approached the man wide-eyed and drop-jawed. Turns out he was very nice.

We talked about art. I was surprised to learn that his philosophy of art was populist. He does not compose for himself; he makes music for others. He said he views composing the way one would prepare and present an elegant dinner party for friends. His goal is to satisfy his audience. And he succeeds.

(Note: the second picture shows Shirley Chang, the amazing oboist at center, with the "Chang Gang" from City Church)

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