- •Contact us
- •About us
- •Advertise with the FT
- •Terms & conditions
© The Financial Times Ltd 2013 FT and 'Financial Times' are trademarks of The Financial Times Ltd.
May 15, 2012 5:34 pm
Nashville, Tennessee, is celebrated for the Grand Ole Opry, the Country Music Hall of Fame and endless rocky-and-rolly extravaganzas. But the city can also boast a fine new concert hall and a remarkably adventurous symphony orchestra, expertly led by Giancarlo Guerrero.
The quasi-classy band visited Carnegie Hall on Saturday as part of the imaginative “Spring for Music” series (all seats $25!). More than 500 hometown fans came along, waving green banners for their team, literally rising to the occasion at the slightest provocation, applauding the cheerleading banalities of a New York radio host and, most crucially, paying appreciative attention to a programme thorny enough to make those big guys at Lincoln Center quake.
The primary attraction had to be a more than reasonable facsimile of Charles Ives’ hyper-forbidding Universe Symphony. Left in sketches at the composer’s death in 1954, it is a sprawling, multi-layered, minutely textured soundscape that virtually asks the impossible. The performers include multiple orchestras led by as many as five conductors, each gang marching to its own computerised click-track drummer.
The score curves and swerves with overlapping expositions in conflicting rhythms, tempos and tonalities, amid mumbo-jumbo annotations concerning the creation of the world, or something like that. Ignoring all laws of practicality, the electronic-music pioneer Larry Austin has “realised” the 37-minute super-magnum opus for contemporary assimilation, revelling in its meticulous incoherence. The ultimately hypnotic result, an orgy of organised chaos, exerts curio appeal in excelsis. The Aldeburgh Festival, not incidentally, will host the European premiere on June 24.
As if Ives were not sufficiently demanding, Guerrero & Co. also presented the New York premiere of Terry Riley’s Palmian Chord Ryddle. Neatly constructed, this rumbling ramble pits a loud and twangy electric violin against a clangourous orchestra for something like a psychedelic hoedown. Tracy Silverman fiddled feverishly, and the natives seemed to enjoy the restlessness.
The overwrought wrong-note romanticism of Percy Grainger’s would-be ballet score, The Warriors (1916), served as a tumultuous finale. Here, as elsewhere, the bombast was bracing.
Copyright The Financial Times Limited 2013. You may share using our article tools.
Please don't cut articles from FT.com and redistribute by email or post to the web.