What a revoltin’ development!

Marion and I went to the Arvada Center to see the ballet performance tonight. I’m not much into ballet, but Marion is, so I go. We were surprised to see instruments and amplifiers on the stage, leaving very little room for dancers. It turns out that the first portion of the show was not listed in the program: The Playground Ensemble, a “new chamber music” group associated with the Lamont School of Music at DU, was an unbilled opening act. The describe themselves as “a group of professional musicians and composers dedicated to presenting classical music as a living art form.” Their stated mission is “to provide stimulating performances, expand common perceptions of both contemporary music and the chamber ensemble, and nurture a community around this music that we love.”

We didn’t care for it at all. As the group’s leader stated in the narration to their second piece, classical music doesn’t have to be old, it doesn’t have to be a museum piece, and it doesn’t have to be pretty. By “museum piece,” he apparently meant “performed as scored.” Not in the sense that they disregarded the written music – I couldn’t determine that – but that they didn’t use traditional instrumentation. The piece they did that was closest to what many people would consider music was an operatic aria performed as “heavy metal vocal performance,” using a drumset, electric guitar and bass, among other instruments. At times, they used loops of chanting and other vocal effects. Most of what they did was dissonant and ugly – to me, at least. Marion’s comment at the end of the evening was that they made Shostakovich (whose music was the soundtrack for a portion of the ballet performance) sound normal.

I’ve been told several times that I have eclectic taste in music (one friend once described my collection of LPs as demonstrating that I had “packrat taste” in music), but I don’t care if I never hear this stuff again.

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