Posted on by jdoerck | Posted in So Forth | Tagged , , , , , , , , ,

red fish blue fish at UCSD’s Conrad Prebys Hall on May 11, 2010 was stellar in all regards. I have been to lots of concerts and I must say that this one was one of my favorites. Many concerts have at least one piece I thought was wonderful but this concert was completely full of good music.

The first piece was composed by Mark Applebaum, a graduate of UCSD’s Music Dept. – he was a student there at the same time as I. He is now professing at Stanford. "Straightjacket" (2009) was an ensemble piece with most if not all of the 7 rfbf members (I don’t quite remember). The music, like Mark, was smart AND really fun. Steve Schick the brilliant percussionist, professor and leader of rfbf, conducted (as he does the LJ Symphony) and, of course, does that well too. One of the sections was him conducting like the music sounds with great imaginative gestures. I wish I could describe it. The second piece, "Marimba Duo from El Liver des Claviers" 1987-1988 by Philip Manoury, now a professor of composition at UCSD and one of my favorite composers ever. (More about that another time). This was performed by Bonnie Whiting Smith and Dustin Donahue on two marimbas, not surprising considering the title. Complicated rhythms AND melodic. "Dresseur" (1977) by Maurice Kagel was a trip through percussion-land. Jillions of instruments, sounds, gestures, music and fun, carried out by Ross Karre, Steve Schick and Justin Dehart. I saw this piece performed at the Other Minds Festival in San Francisco and was just as thrilled with it this time as last. Nothing quiet or passive. The performers strut the stage, performing on water bowls, clappers, and I don’t know what all. . . lots of instruments.

After intermission, another piece by Manoury: "Vibraphone Solo from El Livre des Claviers" (1987-88). This was performed by talented Brian Archinal and Philip, who was sitting next to me in the audience, said it was the best performance he had heard of his piece (he may of said one of the best) but, whatever, Brian did a masterful job (from memory).

The last piece, "Tocsic: Die funf Jahreszeiten (2009) by Lewis Nielson, a friend of Schick’s from the U. of Iowa, was also great. All rf bf performed and it was another wonder. I wish I had taken notes but was too immersed in the music to do so. There were lots of low tones and rumbles – gongs, bass drums as well as intricate rhythms perfectly (as far as I could tell) performed.

Not only was the music great, the performance was a delight to the eye. In the last number all the performers wore shades of blue (Bonnie was in gray but it blended in), the way Schick places the performers on the stage – in one number there were 3 drummers seated diagonally facing Schick. There was nothing dull about any of it. I hope they record and video this as more people should have the opportunity to see/hear this concert.

red fish blue fish performers: Brian Archinal, Justin deHart, Dustin Donahue, Ross Karre, Steven Schick, Stephen Solook, Bonnie Whiting Smith.