Archive | September, 2018

Garrett-Moulton’s YBCA Amazing Fall Premiere

10 Sep

Amazing is a totally inadequate adjective for the Thursday September 6 premiere of Garrett-Moulton’s two new works, virtually volte face to each other, endearing and transporting solemnity in their atmospheric juxtaposition. It is difficult to convey how completed the performance made me feel.

Understandably, the Sabat Mater of Pergolosi was first, perhaps Giovanni Battista Pergolesi’s final work, for a soprano, alto, three violins, cello and organ. His was a short life, 1710-1736, perhaps accounting for the music’s transparent qualities. The spareness, the surges of sound, the rise and fall of the women’s voices gave Garrett a rich palette for the five soloists and opportunity for Moulton to expand the choir’s locations and stage movement, interspersing the fluidity for which Moulton is justly noted. Both works were wonderfully supported by the David Robertson’s lighting and Julienne Weston’s costuming. The latter also ran the production’s gamut, simple and severe black moving wonderfully with skirted men as well as the women. And for Mad Brass, punk was scarcely an adequate description for the dashes, dots, circles and swaths of color from the happiest of pastels to dashes of strong hedonistic hues.

Moulton’s Movement Choir comprised seventeen women and one man, with soloists Carolina Czethowska, Gretchen LaWall, Nol Simonse, Haiou Wang and Miche Wong. As the music ebbed, flowed and swelled, so the dancers moved with superb fluidity, yet marked stretching and arching – in the torso, the arms, the inclination of the head, the direction of the body in relation to other dancers, to the solidity of the movement choir as it moved boxes from center to sides. The quintet at moments were integrated with the choir, at times supported by them, and in variations of solos or in duets quite divorced with the choir totally absent. The presence of skirts on the men was a momentary surprise until remembering that priests preside at the altar in ankle length frocks, minus the sartorial fluidity designed by Weston. Simonse’s rooted presence and Wang’s precise elevation capacities punctuated the lyric elements of the three women, each distinctive,in a way revealing the special qualities of European, American and Asian femininity.

Is a reviewer supposed to have the kind of bodily reaction I felt? My breathing rose and fell to the music, the diaphragm expanding with visual and aural satisfaction; I found myself remembering the impact of Paul Taylor’s Promethean Fire when I first saw it on this same stage. Sabat Mater is its inspiring humanistic fellow work.

Following intermission, Mad Brass was exactly what Angela Amarillas said it should be, a total opposite to Sabat Mater. Enhanced by short red arrows, the soloists and the movement choir utilized the directional signals in umpteenth ways; at each other, commanding distance, taking September Morn positions, pointing collective direction and utilizing one or two as ornaments for the head to the music of Fanfare Ciocarlia. Commedia del Arte had nothing on the absurdity of garment, gesture, jack-knifed sautes, crunched torso with eleves exhibited, and the Movement Choir undertook its most active involvement in Garrett-Moulton productions to date.

Come again, please, and SOON!

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