08 March 2009

Briefly to start with

What fun The Nose is. The challenges of taking a story which revolves around a single personage, and making a stage-work out of it, yet wanting to create ‘breathing space’ for the performer of that central character . . . are well known to the scenarist of the ballet-in-progress White Nights. How brilliantly Shostakovich scored such a streamlined pit (apart from the horde of percussionists, I mean). And how perfectly well the opera suits the stage.

The Ives Fourth was cracking fun at Symphony Hall last night, too. Sprawling, crazy piece in its own right . . . the listener needs to be in the space so that the more densely chaotic passages have texture and profile; the volume never got out of hand (one close to me with sensitive ears, in especial, surprised me by not finding it overwhelming).

More on both before long.


Cato said...

IN the Ives Fourth: How were the quarter-tone passages handled?

Could they be heard above the 18-part counterpoint?

Karl Henning said...

Hmm . . . they did not seem to employ the optional quarter-tone piano (though the stage was littered with various keyboard instruments).