Lucid Culture


Concert Review: Emily Hope Price at the Delancey, NYC 5/17/10

“I’m in a band called Pearl and the Beard,” cellist Emily Hope Price told the crowd at Small Beast last night.

“Which one are you?” host Paul Wallfisch asked, completely deadpan (his Big Small Beast extravaganza, maybe the best NYC rock show of the year, takes place on Friday at the Orensanz Center – tickets still available as of Monday night).

Price thought about it. “I’m the ‘and’.” And followed with a set of casually quirky art-rock that was as fun as it was virtuosically brilliant. Swaying on her feet instead of sitting down, she started out by building a series of loops – first a bouncy beat, then a cleverly plucked groove, then embellishments, building to ferocious, roaring cello metal – and then a cold ending. She varied her vocals from song to song, moving from a full, plaintive, soul-tinged delivery to one a lot more tongue-in-cheek and more than a little creepy on an oldschool country-style number that she played on tenor guitar. She explained that she’d just toured the south for the first time and gotten the inspiration for it from all the “Jesus Saves” billboards down there. “They don’t have a phone number – you know how billboards have phone numbers?”

Price is in the midst of a 365 project, writing a song a day for a year, ambitious to say the least, and she played a couple of what must be very recent creations, one a slinky cello groove number propelled along by fast broken chords, the other a mini-suite of sorts called War that began sparse and reflectively with judiciously dynamic textures and then grew to a fullscale roar. The audience demanded an encore: she rewarded them with the closest thing to a pop song she did all night. Price somehow finds the time to play frequent solo shows like this as well as gigs with her band, in addition to her daily compositions. Pearl and the Beard’s next NYC-area gig is at Maxwell’s on June 23.

May 18, 2010 Posted by | concert, experimental music, Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews, rock music, small beast | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Concert Review: Dmitri Atapine and Hye-Yeon Park at St. Paul’s Chapel, NYC 2/9/09

A captivating, frequently fascinating duo show by the Mexican-born cellist and Korean-born pianist. Dmitri Atapine has a warm, vividly coloristic touch on the cello and seemingly effortless command of any stylistic device he chooses: booming chords, stark washes of sound or a frenetic staccato attack. He used all these and more for considerable emotional impact throughout the hourlong performance. Pianist Hye-Yeon Park provided sturdy yet highly nuanced accompaniment while Atapine was carrying the melody, and when she took over impressed with a lyrical feel that was most apparent during the program’s most overtly Romantic moments, particularly during the second movement of their Beethoven selection and then one by Tschaikovsky.


The opening piece, Luigi Boccherini’s Sonata for Cello and Continuo in A Major, G. 4 gave Atapine a chance to explore the totality of the cello’s dynamic range: Boccherini, being one of the foremost cellists of his era, wrote frequently for the instrument. The two followed with Beethoven’s for Cello and Piano in C Major, Op. 102. No. 1 that gave Park the spotlight for some affecting cascades once the second of its five movements got underway was a big crowd-pleaser; a rearrangement of a Tschaikovsky’s Pezzo Capricioso, Op. 62  was effective in maintaining the feeling of longing and anticipation left behind by the Beethoven.


The first of two real eye-openers was a student work by Ligeti, the Sonata for Cello Solo which in fact went unpublished til the 80s, big plucked chords striking amidst uneasy ambience. The second was another rearrangement, the “Silence” section from Bartok’s The Woods, a work for piano and four hands, remarkably consonant, traditional and warmly accessible. They closed with Atapine dexterously handling some lightning-fast staccato work in cello etude specialist David Popper’s Dance of the Elves, a catchy melody something akin to Flight of the Bumblebee for cello. As with that piece, there ought to be a surf band somewhere to turn it into the rock song just bubbling under its hook-strewn surface.

February 10, 2009 Posted by | Live Events, Music, music, concert, New York City, review, Reviews | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment