Five Paintings from a Ghost Town

I went to see a pretty cool show last night here in Chicago at the Harris Theatre. Fulcrum Point puts on a season worth of great concerts, and since my buddy Joe Darnaby is acting stage manager, and all-things-techy guru for the company, I try to make it out to as many as I can. Plus I love new music. Always have, always will.

At the show last night, the piece that stuck out was Cinque Quadri da una cittá fantasma (Five Paintings from a Ghost Town) by Luciano Chessa. For piano, three turntables, and chalkboard. You can check out a video clip of Chessa playing this here.

The turntable part, played by Joe, took the infinite loop at the end of the three LPs to generate polyrhythms that lay as a bed for the piano. And the chalkboard (part of the second movement I believe) was close-miced to get the chalk sounds and scratching. As the chalkboard player — also the pianist — began to write and draw more and more frantically, the LP loops got louder and louder. Finally, the two players left the stage as the loop continued. Apparently it’s written in the piece that the players must exit and drink a glass of Laphroaig, a heavily peated scotch (and my favorite). Upon returning to the stage for the later movements, the piano became much more interesting. And later, a specific set of 3 LPs began to play super-quite music instead of the loop.

All in all, a great performance. And thanks to Joe for sharing a glass of that Laphroaig with me after the performance. Fulcrum Point, we’ll meet again.