Lucid Culture


A Dark and Stormy Night at the Tank

In their debut performance Thursday night at the Tank, Dark and Stormy revealed not only the amazing amount of nuance, but also the raw power that two badass bassoonists can deliver. It’s not clear which one is Dark and which is Stormy, Adrian Morejon or Rebekah Heller – or if they’re only Dark and Stormy when they’re together – but it definitely was an exciting night, affirmed by the roar of the audience at the end of the show, clearly hoping for an encore. “As far as the repertoire for two bassoons, this is pretty much it,” laughed Heller.

It was a feast of low tonalities. They opened with a playfully brief Stravinsky fragment, unpublished during his lifetime. Then they brought the intensity up with Louis Andriessen’s eerily dreamy Lacrimosa for Two Bassoons, beginning with meticulously shifting microtones, building to stately, shifting textures based on a series of memorably minimalist little walks down the scale. Heller shadowed Morejon for awhile, while he got to toss off a couple of unexpected flourishes, building to a crescendo that signaled a return of the minute pitch modulations of the earlier part of the piece.

The next work was Francisco Mignone’s Sonata Para 2 Fagotes. Through its three movements, Heller and Morejon paired off on its baroque-tinged introduction as it built momentum with some perfectly synched glissandos and then a droll conclusion. The second movement was surprisingly dark and austere, melody versus long, suspensefully sustained notes; the third was peppy and pretty comedic in places, a showcase for the duo’s goodnatured, energetic attack (both played standing up, swaying in time, throughout the show). They followed with the premiere of a Nicholas deMaison work possibly titled A Field of 46 Fissures. Beginning cyclical and micotonal, Morejon leading Heller, it grew faster and blippier, took a grave downturn before a smooth-versus-screechy interlude that managed to be both ominous and playful at the same time.

The show closed with a duo sonata by Sofia Gubaidulina, who as Heller explained has probably written more for the bassoon than any other living composer. Once again layering a tune over a low sustained note, working brooding chromatic territory for maximum suspense, Heller eventually took over agitatedly as Morejon maintained his calm until that was no longer possible. From there it was back to mysterioso – and then the two reversed roles. Since this seems to be pretty much everything that exists for bassoon duo, these two need more material. Who’s up to the challenge? Missy Mazzoli, Mohammed Fairouz, Ana Milosavljevic? Time to get busy!

May 2, 2011 - Posted by | avant garde music, classical music, concert, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

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