Philadelphia classical music events, discussion, and directory
LocalArtsLive/William Way Classical Music Showcase
Presented at the Williamway LGBT Community Center
1315 Spruce Street, Philadelphia PA 19107
Thursday, July 12, 2012 8 pm
My husband and I were very excited to attend the Classical Music Showcase presented by LocalArtsLive, and it was a real treat. To begin with, the hall was really nice. The theme of the program introduced by Steve Schatz of the Philadelphia Fans of Classical Music, became music past, present and future, and this idea turned out to be quite workable.
First up was an a cappella group called, curiously, The Laughing Bird. I don’t know what that name means, but it makes me smile. Their music is vocal chamber music from the origin of music up until 1750. The voices of the soprano and alto blended in gorgeous close harmony, and the tenor and bass supported the lightness of the ladies with strong rhythmic and complimentary harmonies. The result was a delicious blending of voices that could be felt through the ears and the heart.
The second ensemble was Beta Test Music, and it could not have been more of a sharp contrast to the strict timing of the long accepted form of chamber music. The guys appeared in very relaxed attire ready to have fun, and that they did. It was obvious that they all had great musical talent; however, they have turned the formal world of music upside down. They seem to thrive on little used venues for inspiration such as theme music for video games. It is best to forget the usual forms of classical music, and enjoy the creativity of the 21st century. I was impressed with the freedom expressed by the group to start off a piece one way and part way through have it take on an entirely different form. The drummer in particular had the ability to affect that change with inspired rhythms.
The future was represented by yet another group of very talented musicians called Murmuration enjoying more surprising and unusual ways of expressing themselves by casting aside not only the generally accepted forms of music, but also not committing their music to paper or computer. It seems to be almost entirely improvisational and whimsical, and no two performances are alike. Two musicians performed on the piano and violin while the third musician sang passages from a book in seemingly random manor in a strong, lyrical, high register. We watched in admiration as, miracle of miracles, the music came together even though it was being created even as we heard it. Working together over time, they have developed a sensitivity to each other so that they understand how, what and when to play or sing music that is exciting and unpredictable, and how they do that will remain a mystery to me.
We look forward to the next Showcase, hopefully this fall, for new music and experiences to shake up any of our preconceived musical ideas. We still love our familiar symphonies, concertos and choral music; however, it was fun to feel a part of what music has always been: a means of expressing inner feelings of sadness, calmness, anger, dreams, daring adventure and great joy through singing or playing instruments and sharing them with others.
Joan H. Torello