Sunday, May 20, 2012

Blowhards in DC

The last two weeks have featured a surprising amount of circular breathing.

Starting with Ned Rothenberg, who was outstanding as usual. He played a duo show with Ayman Fanous (5/11 at a church in Foggy Bottom).  He did one solo piece on alto sax, as well as duos making use of shakuhachi, clarinet, and bass clarinet. Amazing stuff. His new solo clarinet record ("World of Odd Harmonics" on Tzadik) is also excellent. Here's a sample - not from this concert, but recent and similar material:



Then International Contemporary Ensemble (ICE), (5/17 at Atlas) whose program included a solo bassoon piece that required circular breathing. During that passage, the performer made a porcine snort with each breath. I wonder if that's a function of how much air it takes to work a bassoon vs. a sax or trumpet?

Then Travis Laplante and Peter Evans (5/19 at Back Alley Theater): The final piece of Laplante's set was a long theme and variations form built on a long chant like melody - rendered beautifully in "normal" tones then used as the basis for a series of intense psuedo-polyphonic episodes. I think this is the studio version, it's only the tune that he opened and closed the piece with at the show:



Peter Evans performed what seemed like a quartet for two trumpets, elephant and whale. He played all the parts himself simultaneously on one trumpet.

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