Tuesday, May 25, 2010

3rd Movement of Leo Brouwer’s 'El Decameron Negro' in Douglas Pew's Version of 'Carnival of the Animals'

[Leo Brouwer]

Mary Ellyn Hutton
Posted: May 24, 2010
Premieres are the stuff of legend, with ink still wet on manuscript paper, bemused performers and work-in-progress performances. The premiere of “Carnival of the Animals” by the chamber ensemble concert:nova Sunday evening in Cincinnati Ballet studios on Central Parkway may have looked easy, but it was not like pulling a rabbit out of hat. Nor was it just another first performance. In pre-concert remarks, composer Douglas Pew said he doesn’t expect to hear his 'Swan' again, but Pew is almost certainly wrong. With vision and countless hours of devotion, concert:nova has hatched a creature with legs with this affectionate re-visit to Saint-Saens' beloved classic.

“What have we here? Eleven members of concert:nova, including pianists Albert Mühlböck and Julie Spangler, performed the familiar 'Carnival of the Animals' interleaved with brand new takes on the suite by 15 composers. This expanded, updated 'Carnival of the Animals' was performed with dance episodes choreographed by Heather Britt and other members of Cincinnati Ballet. The dancing was the unifying element as Saint-Saens’ 15 animals passed in review in a stylistic array that scanned 19th to 21st century composition. The performance, in CB's Mickey Kaplan Performance Studio, was led with great skill by Annunziata Tomaro, conductor of the University of Cincinnati College-Conservatory of Music Concert Orchestra.”

“CB principal dancer Olgucan Borova, complete with tail, portrayed Saint-Saens’ 'Marche royale du lion' with great, heroic leaps, pelvic thrusts and Elvis-like gestures. Jeff Silva’s 'Leo,' based on the third movement of Afro-Cuban composer Leo Brouwer’s 'El Decameron Negro,' featured c:n's Randolph Bowman in a myriad of effects on the flute as the lion was joined by a captivating lioness. [The Afro-Cuban guitarist, composer and conductor Leo Brouwer (b. 1939) is profiled at AfriClassical.com]

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