On Friday night, Matissta took Flannista to a concert by eighth blackbird, a musical ensemble that (according to the program notes)" "combines the finesse of a string quartet, the energy of a rock band and the audacity of a storefront theater. The Chicago-based, two-time Grammy-winning 'super-musicians' (LA Times) entertain and provoke audiences across the country and around the world."
Matiss knows that a sure-fire way to Flann's heart is by introducing her to music she's never heard before or music she'll instantly fall in love with. eighth blackbird provided both.
The entire second half of the concert was a performance of "Double Sextet" by American composer Steve Reich; a piece that won the Pulitzer Prize for Music in 2009. Called by The New Yorker, "the most original musical thinker of our time," Reich has won numerous honors, including several Grammy Awards, and his music has been commissioned, performed and recorded by orchestras and ensembles around the world. About the piece, the composer writes:
There are two identical sextets in "Double Sextet". Each one is comprised of flute, clarinet, violin, cello, vibraphone and piano. Doubling the instrumentation was done so that, as in so many of my earlier works, two identical instruments could interlock to product one overall pattern. For example, this piece you will hear the pianos and vibes interlocking in a highly rhythmic way to drive the rest of the ensemble. The piece can be played in two ways; either with 12 musicians, or with six playing against a recording of themselves. In this performance you will hear the sextet eighth blackbird, who commissioned the work, playing with six other musicians.
The six other musicians were University of Maryland music students who never missed a beat with eighth blackbird. The performance of this piece was stunning and bought tears to Flann's eyes. To listen to the glorious Third Movement, simply called "Fast," click here.
After the concert, Flannista purchased a recording of "Double Sextet" where eighth blackbird plays against a recording of themselves. It's beautiful, too, but nothing like hearing this stunning piece live.
Why not start your week off on a strong note, and treat yourselves to a listen?