I was delighted to accompany DB last-minute to Kronos Quartet’s 50th anniversary gig at Carnegie Hall on Friday night.
This was the set.
- Severiano Briseño, “El Sinaloense (The Man from Sinaloa)” (2001; arr. Osvaldo Golijov)
- Gabriella Smith, “Keep Going” (2023, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall; New York Premiere)
- Peni Gandra Rini, “Movement 1” from Segara Gunung (2023, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall; arr. Jacob Garchik and Andy McGraw; New York Premiere)
- Laurie Anderson, “Nothing Left But Their Names”, from Landfall (2012)
- Tanya Tagaq, “Sivunittinni” (2015, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall; arr. Jacob Garchik)
- Tanya Tagaq, “Colonizer (Remix)” (2021; arr Tanya Tagaq, Kronos Quartet, and Joel Tarman)
- Ariel Aberg-Riger / Hamza El Din, “Swimming with Rachel Carson” (2023; World Premiere) / Escalay (1989; real. Tour Ueda)
- Traditional, “We’re Stole and Sold from Africa” (arr. Jake Blount and Jacob Garchik)
- Michael Gordon, gfedcba (2023, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall; New York Premiere)
- Wu Man, “Silk” and “Bamboo”, from Two Chinese Paintings (2015, co-commissioned by Carnegie Hall; real. Danny Clay)
- Moondog, “Choo Choo Lullaby” (1977; arr. Brian Carpenter)
- Rahul Dev Burman, “Mehbooba Mehbooba (Beloved, O Beloved)” (1975; arr. Stephen Prutsman and Kronos Quartet)
- Terry Riley, “Sunrise of the Planetary Dream Collector” (1981)
The performance included collaborators from throughout their career, and the Terry Riley piece brought all of the performers from earlier pieces and many more together in one huge jam. This included the Aizuri Quartet, Attacca Quartet, Bang on a Can All-Stars, PUBLIQuartet, Sō Percussion, Laurie Anderson, Gregg August, Jake Blount, Peni Sandra Rini, Brian Carpenter, Jacob Garchik, Iwo Jedynecki, Ayana Kozasa, Reshena Liao, Son Leon Lyuh, Tanya Tagaq, Wu Man, and more. Terry Riley gave a very endearing recorded introduction before his piece.
It’s super hard to decide… But I think I was most enchanted by Hamza El Din’s Escalay with Ariel Aberg-Riger’s spoken word and visual art. It was an incredible combination, and unexpected.
I knew very little about Rachel Carson, and about the forcible relocation of so many Nubians when the Aswan Dam was constructed. (To be honest, I know embarrassingly little about Nubia in general.) The program noted that the water wheel was the oldest mechanical device used for farmland irrigation in Nubia, and “Escalay is a representation of how to start the waterwheel and let it run.” El Din was introduced to Kronos by Terry Riley, and this is the piece he wrote for them.
Towards the end of Aberg-Riger’s “Swimming with Rachel Carson”, she said something about how Carson set “an example of how wonder and humility can build up in the same way as toxins in nature and in ourselves”. (That is not a perfect quote since I couldn’t write it down fast enough, forgive me.)
Something to strive for.