Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston 06-07 Season
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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Review in Boston Musical Intelligencer

Standing Stillness, Smashing Success
by David Patterson

The Chameleon Arts Ensemble of Boston wrapped up their 2008-09 season series with a program of spirits voices ecstatic at the Goethe-Institut Boston on Sunday, May 17. Adding still more personalities to the already changeable ensemble were invited guest artists Elizabeth Keusch, soprano, and Aditya Kalyanpur, tabla. Composer Shirish Korde, who teaches at the College of the Holy Cross, was on hand to provide insider information.

Read the full review here

Monday, May 18, 2009

“of spirits voices ecstatic” in Boston Globe

David Weininger reviewed this Saturday’s concert for the Boston Globe.

“To close out its 11th season, Chameleon Arts Ensemble assembled the kind of adventurous program with which it’s built its reputation: smart and eclectic, stretching from the 19th century to a world premiere. All five works were loosely linked by the theme of ecstasy, but this seemed less important than the permutation of styles, as well as tight and committed performances.”

Read the full article here.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Takemitsu and his film music

The more I researched Toru Takemitsu the more fascinated I became. I think that the more time passes the more he will be considered one of the truly great and innovative composers of the twentieth century. He didn’t hear Western music at all until he was at least 14 years old, and then began studying in earnest by examining the works of Debussy and Messiaen. Imagine…coming from a culture where Western influence was outlawed for the the first 16 years of your life and then picking up our musical tradition midstream, with essentially no context in which to place it. Furthermore, he rejected his own native musical culture until he was about 30, by hearing it anew through the ears of an American – John Cage to boot. And only then incorporating it into his own compositions.

Some of Takemitsu’s earliest compositional activity was in the Jikken Kobo (“experimental workshop”), a group dedicated to multi-media arts he formed with several friends. He had none of the American prejudice against music for films and composed nearly 100 film scores, many for the revolutionary Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. The following videos from YouTube give a fascinating insight into his working methods and thoughts about his own music. My favorite quote:

“I’ve never much liked the trumpet and kettledrums. Timpani are such important instruments in Western music. They provide the foundation for all the other sounds above. But my music is bottomless, you see. I have only the top. That’s because I’m Japanese.”

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