Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So Percussion Review

"So Percussion". I admit the title did not stand out to me from the list of performances available, and the only reason I chose it was because the ones I wanted were sold out and this was the only show that fit into my schedule. The performance was in the evening and I recall being quite exhausted upon arriving and thinking to myself, man I hope the music will be lively and dynamic so I can stay awake! However, Like Sylvia, I arrived not really knowing the least of what to expect. I had arrived exactly on time and it was a full house. As a result, the best seat I could find was one with a view that was partially obstructed by a big white pillar and next to four women who wouldn't stop talking and chuckling during the performance. I really liked the overall seating arrangement, though. Because there was no mounted stage, chairs were placed in a 360 degree formation around the instruments, which effectively positioned the performance space in the center. I thought it might be a customary arrangement for concerts in general, but I don't attend concerts regularly so it was something I took note of.

I wasn't there early enough for the flowerpot jam, but was there in time to witness their brilliant clapping session. Who knew clapping could be a skill? Not I. Initially, anyway. The beat was simple: 3,1,2,1, but imagine clapping to that consistently for ten minutes straight, commencing and ending in perfect unison. It is not an easy feat, as I would later realize when the quartet would involve the entire audience in a clapping session at the end of the show. The level of the performers' intensity and concentration was equally matched in their next performance piece, which was a 15 minute progression of repeated 4 note sequences on the synthesizer. As for the musical piece itself, however, to be brutally honest, I found it to be dull and uninspiring. I admit I am not a huge fan of synthesizers to begin with. I grew up as a piano player, so the synthesizer always came off sounding unpleasingly artificial to me. The next piece, the marimbas, was probably my favorite in the entire show. Entertainment-wise, it was a long stretch from the sleep-inducing synthesizers. The music was something that could be used in a Disney movie and really reminded me of my childhood. These marimbas were one of the bigger ones that I have seen, and I was in awe of the quartets' quick hand movements along the instrument. Once again, they demonstrated a difficult mastery of playing in unison with minute accuracy. These two components, unison and accuracy, are so important in a musical collaboration. A single discrepency in rhythm to the trained ear, even just for a millisecond, can offset the integrity of a performance for that single moment, which can look very unprofessional. Having attempted a few musical collaborations myself in the distant past, I can really appreciate the execution of this performative aspect in all their musical pieces.

Although I did not walk away from the show with my heart brimming with emotions, I did walk away with a greater sense of appreciation for the musical arts in general. Seeing the quartets' devoted passion to music also made me somewhat miss playing the piano. That being said, really good music is something I would want to listen to over and over. However, as much as I respect the talent and integrity of the quartets, given the chance, I would not choose to sit through any part of "So Percussion" a second time.

1 comment:

  1. Great attention to detail in this review, Helen.

    Many thanks,