On Tuesday 24th November 2015, Neelajit Dhillon Quartet and Isaura String Quartet presented a captivating performance of classical music at REDCAT in Los Angeles, California. The performance combined jazz and North Indian classical music into a very distinctive contemporary way. The group presented beautiful pieces of violin and soprano combinations. I found it very surprising that the concert was under-attended - about a half of the auditorium was empty. It started at around 8:30, but by 9:30, it was still half-full. I thought people in Los Angeles loved classical music and the venue would be full by 9:00 but it was not the case. The only reason I can think of is that the concert took place on Tuesday and most people might have been busy at work.
The venue had dim lights with blue and green shades, which created a nice atmosphere. The seats were also well arranged in patterns, which contributed to the feeling of togetherness. It felt like it was a venue for one big family coming together. In addition, the walls were decorated with big pictures of musical instruments, which enhanced the feeling of the presence at a major concert performance. Overall, the venue was thoughtfully decorated and it positively influenced the general intimate atmosphere, which convinced me that the concert was worth attending.
The double quartet built a multisensory experience that combined spoken word narration at the beginning of the performance. A string instrument was heard playing in the background, and a beautiful slow melody was enchanting every person present. As the performance progressed, the mood changed to a more dramatic one. You could clearly tell that the performers were enjoying the concert as much as the audience was. The music also became louder and faster with fugue-like entrances. The interchange between the instruments was flawless and occurred in unison. The most prominent were the trumpets. You could clearly feel the way they sounded, especially when they were supported with drums and cymbals. The performance was very impressive and I wished I could listen to it throughout the night. I enjoyed every bit of it and clapped along with the rest of the audience when the first part of the concert ended.
The second part began with violin melody, which was very striking to the ear. The lyrical strings then joined and provided support that well contrasted with the violin and created a sustained ethereal sound. The trumpets provided a hammering motive, which made the main theme of the violin sound even better. There was a good interchange between the strings and the violin; everything appeared to be synchronized to provide very pleasant sound. One thing I noticed during the performance of the second piece was that the violinists stood up unlike in the first performance where they were sitting down. They looked move flexible and mobile while standing up, and this made the performance more entertaining. Their movements also accentuated the sound of all the musical instruments because they stressed the rising and falling in both the pitch and dynamics. I have attended classical music performances before but this one sounded more intriguing. The movements created a flux that made the music sound endless. That could be compared to a movement of different fish swimming in the sea with each one of them moving independently but coordinated and synchronized in spite of the waves and changing flows. Each of the instruments sounded unique and together they formed a melodious sound that was worth listening. The auditorium was overwhelmed with the claps and appreciation at the end of the performance.
Classical Musical Second Report
On Wednesday 18th November 2015, starting at 8.30 p.m., Michael Pisaro and his team performed at the REDCAT in Los Angeles, California. Michael is renowned for his exceptional embrace of sound across different forms. He was joined by Joe Panzner, who played electronics, and Greg Stuart, who was the lead percussionist. The performance was very romantic and filled with emotions; the crowd seemed to enjoy it to the full. The soulful nature of the performance seemed to catch the attention of a bigger part of the audience, most of whom were in pairs, possibly lovers. This performance left a lasting impression especially because of the interchange between the electronics and percussion. The piece started slowly and later changed progressively to create a magical and serene atmosphere. There was an interplay between high and low tones, which inspired the feeling of love and affection.
The appearance of the venue looked suitable for such kind of performance with most of the pictures on the walls painted in bright colors such as pink and red. The lighting was dim, which contributed to the romantic atmosphere. The main stage was at the center of the auditorium with the audience surrounding it. All participants faced the central part of the room and you could see everyone move slowly in accordance with the beats and sound of the instruments. The most interesting characteristic of the performance was that there was no violin as it is the case with most classical music concerts. At first, I was worried of the kind of performance that would come out of purely electronics and percussions, but I was soon convinced that everything was perfectly arranged. The performance was very effective thanks to the homogeneity created by the chosen set of the instruments. There was good communication between the performers, which created some familiarity and intimacy of the sound.
There was a phase when the entire ensemble was playing together. An interplay from one cord to another with gradual decrease of dynamics brought the trembling feeling of the event that I had anticipated. There was a slight pause of the percussions, which allowed the audience to appreciate the performance with electronics only. After a short pause, the percussions joined to create a serenade theme, which boosted the expected feeling. The resonating sound of the electronics made the performance more energetic and lively.
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