Sunday, November 4, 2007

ney & zorba

Last night I attended a LACO concert at the Alex Theater in Glendale with my roommate. She won free tickets off of KCRW, local public radio station extraordinaire. LA actually has three public radio stations, which I think is pretty cool. Anyway. We heard Prokovief's Classical Symphony, Mendelssohn Symphony No. 5, and a new work, a concerto for the Persian ney, which is sort of an ancestor of the flute. (Incidentally, Wikipedia informs me that the ney is made of Arundo Donax, the same plant used for oboe reeds.) It was an interesting piece. The accompanying orchestra was fairly large, with full brass and percussion. The ney was amplified. This instrument has a lot of accompanying airiness in its sound. If one were to hear it in its natural setting, unamplified and with other instruments of its background, I'm guessing the airiness would not be noticeable. But the mics seemed to pick up the airiness almost more than the actual pitches of the instrument, which I found distracting. Perhaps the concerto would have worked better with a much smaller orchestra that would allow the ney to remain unamplified. It was also a somewhat odd juxtaposition of western 12-tone (as in we use 12 notes, not serialism) music and traditional Persian music. I'm still not totally sure what I thought of the piece.

I also watched Zorba the Greek this weekend. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. In fact, it was sometimes a little upsetting. I don't want to give anything away, but, gosh, widows sure had it rough in post-war Crete. It does have some good moments, though.

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