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Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

Cello by stevendepolo on Flickr Creative Commons

Photo by stevendepolo, Flickr Creative Commons

Sadly, it has been many moons since Eric and I were good, supportive friends and made it to a Boulder Chamber Orchestra to hear our dear friend and cellist Rebecca Holley play. But we finally made it to a performance on Friday night at the First Congressional Church of Boulder.

The evening’s theme was Sounds of the Countryside, and although the pieces seemed obscure (at least to a classical music ignoramus such as myself), they were the most approachable and enjoyable I’ve heard the BCO play.

The first was made up of selections from Ten Armenian Songs and Dances by an Armenian composer named Komitas Vardapet. Upon introducing the pieces, Bahman Saless, the musical director and conductor, noted that the songs were intended to include some folk drumming, but as they couldn’t find anyone, they’d have to do without. A fellow in the audience stood and said “Excuse me, but I’m actually a drummer. I could stand in if you wish.” In faux surprise, Bahaman agreed that, why yes, that would be wonderful. The audience had a good chuckle and the drummer joined the orchestra on stage with his hand-held drum.

For the second piece, a clarinet concerto by Gerald Finzi, the featured soloist of the evening, clarinetist Jerome Fleg, made his appearance and impressed the audience with the sweet, floating sounds of his instrument. I was transported to a scene from a Disney movie, with little bluebirds and butterflies flitting around.

The final selection was An English Suite by Hubert Parry, a delightful, head-bopping composition that really did capture the essence of the English countryside.

With each piece, Bahman gave his take on why the music is historically significant and called out a few unique features to listen for during the performance. For example, he explained why he so admires Parry’s talent for symphonic composition and his ability to extend the melody through several bars before bringing it “back home.”

As I was looking around the crowd, which consisted largely of elderly folk and families of the musicians, I got to thinking that more people really should know about this experience. It’s not as stodgy and boring as you might think. Bhaman makes a concerted effort to bring some fun and learning into the equation — and he suceeds. And at the very least, you’ll find yourself in the sanctuary of a small church or theater, turning off your iPhone or Blackberry and getting carried away by the music — even if it is to drift off with your own thoughts.

Their next performance is The Lyricists, featuring violinist Lindsay Deutsch on April 2–3.

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Imogen Heap at Fox Theater, Boulder, CO

The lovely Imogen Heap played the Fox Theatre on Saturday night, and despite the snow storm, we navigated the icy roads and the dismal parking situation on The Hill to make it just in time for her first song.

The experience of an Imogen show is somewhere between watching a DJ labor over his turntable and attending an opera audition. She’s constantly fiddling with a number of electronic and non-electronic (a kazoo, for instance) gadgets. She mutters under her breath. Consults privately with her on- and off-stage crews. Yet when she opens her mouth to sing, the most incredibly sweet, ethereal sounds come out seemingly effortlessly.

The set was in keeping with this duality: four laser-cut panels formed a beautiful, futuristic tree on which graceful images such as flying birds were projected. Yet lots of contraptions hung down from its branches including a gong, clunky Christmas lights and a triangle.

It was an early show (started at 7pm), but the house was absolutely packed to the gills. And even though I am 5’9″ and was wearing three-inch-heeled boots, I had a hard time seeing above the exceptionally tall crowd. Boulder, you are a town of tall f@$#ers!

Imogen had the crowd going wild throughout the show, but especially when she announced she’d be back in April. I’ll let you know when I hear the confirmed date and time. Just plan to get there early — or get your stilts ready.

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Big Head Todd and the Monsters – Bittersweet

This song will forever remind me of the summer I moved to Boulder. Hot, stuffy days in my dorm room and cool nights on the Hill.

James Taylor – Something in the Way She Moves

JT obviously would have been the love of my life had I been born in, say, 1945. JT’s daughter, Sally, lived in Boulder for some time (maybe still does?), so I’ve always hoped to run into him here. Let me know if you see him, okay?

Sting – Fields of Gold

Because I said so.

John Mayer – Stop This Train

Some love him, some hate him. I don’t care. One summer I saw him play at Trilogy in Boulder with about 50 other audience members and, as a result, I will forever adore him.

U2 – Beautiful Day

Chances are it’s a beautiful day if you’re in Boulder in the summer.

Shawn Colvin – Wichita Skyline

I know. It’s got Wichita in the title, so how can it be on the Boulder playlist. But listen. It could easily be about eastern Colorado. There’s nothing like hearing her play this at the Chautauqua Auditorium during the Summer Concert Series. I don’t know why she is not performing there this year. Shawn, please come back!

Patty Griffin – Sweet Lorraine

Perfect for campfire singalongs. I sat in the pouring rain at Lyons Folks Fest last summer to hear her play. It was totally worth it.

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