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THE CRITICAL EAR.

Byline: CRAIG SMITH

The earth has music for those who listen

Two recent concerts reminded me that music can provide matchless support for other art forms -- but if the fit isn't just right, it can give you fits. Both programs were, for the most part, deliciously performed, and entertaining into the bargain.

On July 12 at the Lensic Performing Arts Center A performing arts center, often abbreviated PAC, is a multi-use performance space that can be adapted for use by various types of the performing arts, including dance, music and theatre. , Aspen Santa Fe Ballet's A Gala Evening of Stars put dance and music in the spotlight with classical and modern pas de deux pas de deux

(French; “step for two”)

Dance for two performers. A characteristic part of classical ballet, it includes an adagio, or slow dance, by the ballerina and her partner; solo variations by the male dancer and then the ballerina; and a coda, or
 plus a solo piece. The guest artists were Paloma Herrera and Gennadi Saveliev of American Ballet Theatre American Ballet Theatre, one of the foremost international dance companies of the 20th cent. It was founded in 1937 as the Mordkin Ballet and reorganized as the Ballet Theatre in 1940 under the direction of Lucia Chase and Rich Pleasant. ; Lorena Feijoo and Vitor Luiz of San Francisco Ballet San Francisco Ballet, or SFB, is a San Francisco, USA based ballet company, founded in 1933 as part of San Francisco Opera Ballet. The company is currently based in the War Memorial Opera House, where it is directed by Helgi Tomasson. ; and Julie Blume of Parsons Dance. Katie Dehler, Katherine Eberle, Seth DelGrasso,

and Nolan DeMarco McGahan were the home-team dancers.

Whether doing an evening-length ballet or smaller works, ASFB ASFB Australian Society for Fish Biology (Australia)
ASFB Application Specific Function Block
 almost always uses prerecorded pre·re·cord  
tr.v. pre·re·cord·ed, pre·re·cord·ing, pre·re·cords
To record (a television program, for example) at an earlier time for later presentation or use.

Adj. 1.
 music. So does Parsons Dance. American Ballet Theatre and San Francisco Ballet have resident orchestras, so the visiting dancers are used to in-the-moment playing; here, of course, they used canned music. The problem wasn't that so much; it was how badly cut-up some of the scores were conceptually, and how poorly pinned-together they were in terms of sound.

Classical ballet music, though usually perfectly written for its purpose, is seldom great stand-alone art. Rearranging movements or sections to fit new circumstances or performers is expected, especially when you're extracting set-pieces for a concert. But to string together extracts that have clearly been taken from different recorded sources, at different volume and intensity levels, and sometimes in badly contrasted keys, goes beyond the pale. It's music murdered rather than modified.

The music for the Carmen pas de deux was the worst. Bizet's score, opulently orchestrated by Shchedrin, was reduced to a series of crunches, blares, and blurts that kept pulling attention away from the movement -- though I must confess Alberto Alonso's choreography has never excited me much, anyway. Feijoo and Luiz danced with brio and grace, though her costume looked as if Carmen had been attacked by a seamstress with a roll of red fringe and a desire for revenge. The sound was much better in the "Black Swan" pas de deux from Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake, in which I found the pair compelling and committed to the Petipa choreography -- Feijoo arrogant, cruel, and fluid as Odile, and Luiz beautifully ardent as a sexually charged yet gallant Prince.

Herrera and Saveliev faced much the same challenge in the Le Corsaire excerpt, which was much shorter than the usual extract from the sleeping-chamber scene. Their dancing to Ricardo Drigo's tunefully jejune je·june  
adj.
1. Not interesting; dull: "and there pour forth jejune words and useless empty phrases" Anthony Trollope.

2.
 music, with choreography by Konstantin Sergeyev after Petipa, was oddly lackluster and uninvolved, especially that of Herrera.

They were a thousand times better in the famous grand pas from Petipa's Don Quixote, with choreography by Alexsandr Gorsky. Herrera was sweet, saucy, and Spanish. Saveliev, buoyed up by Leon Minkus' effervescent ef·fer·vesce  
intr.v. ef·fer·vesced, ef·fer·vesc·ing, ef·fer·vesc·es
1. To emit small bubbles of gas, as a carbonated or fermenting liquid.

2. To escape from a liquid as bubbles; bubble up.

3.
 score, gloried in the muscular excitement of the part.

Dehler and DelGrasso did smooth, seductive work with the contrasting moods of Twyla Tharp's Sinatra Suite, set to pensive renditions of popular favorites sung by Ol' Blue Eyes. Dressed in black formal wear, they floated and leaped like the come-and-go pulses of the heart. DelGrasso was virile and poignant in the solo, "One for the Road." Eberle and McGahan danced Gerald Arpino's Light Rain duet, set to insectoid music by Douglas Adams and Russ Gauthier, capably enough, but I have seen the piece danced with more security and ease by other ASFB couples.

Blume was first-rate in David Parsons' iconic Caught: she perfectly reflected Robert Fripp's ear-piercing score as she was captured in the flickering lance of a strobe light.

The Santa Fe Desert Chorale's Measure for Measure concert on July 14 in Loretto Chapel explored the interaction between music and poetry, mostly via texts by Shakespeare set by composers born in the 19th and 20th centuries. Under the circumstances, clarity of language was vital; and for the most part, the chorale members came through solidly, even though Loretto's ringing sonic medium sometimes blurred the message. Thanks to the current heat wave, the hall was hotter than the hubs of Hades Hades (hā`dēz), in Greek and Roman religion and mythology.

1 The ruler of the underworld: see Pluto.

2 The world of the dead, ruled by Pluto and Persephone, located either underground or in the far west beyond the
. Dress down when you go.

Music director Joshua Habermann wisely didn't try to force Anglicized pronunciation, but let the words come out in good singer-speech, aka general American dialect: round full vowels, unstressed un·stressed  
adj.
1. Linguistics Not stressed or accented: an unstressed syllable.

2. Not exposed or subjected to stress.

Adj. 1.
 diphthongs, and good bite in the consonants. I did find many "r" sounds undervalued Undervalued

A stock or other security that is trading below its true value.

Notes:
The difficulty is knowing what the "true" value actually is. Analysts will usually recommend an undervalued stock with a strong buy rating.
: more rolled or flipped r's, especially at the beginnings of words, would add definition without fuss.

The only departure from this serene approach came when the composers clearly wanted idiosyncratic id·i·o·syn·cra·sy  
n. pl. id·i·o·syn·cra·sies
1. A structural or behavioral characteristic peculiar to an individual or group.

2. A physiological or temperamental peculiarity.

3.
 or dialect speech, and it was done to the full then, and with lots of humor. The singers were enchanting when they had to imitate screeching cats, barking dogs, hayseed lovers, tolling bells, or spell-crooning witches with onomatopoeic on·o·mat·o·poe·ia  
n.
The formation or use of words such as buzz or murmur that imitate the sounds associated with the objects or actions they refer to.
 fervor -- and yes, it's all

in Shakespeare.

The vocal selections were interspersed with readings from various plays, including The Merchant of Venice and A Midsummer Night's Dream A Midsummer Night's Dream is a romantic comedy by William Shakespeare written sometime in the 1590s. It portrays the adventures of four young Athenian lovers and a group of amateur actors, their interactions with the Duke and Duchess of Athens, Theseus and Hippolyta, and , plus Sonnet 128, "How oft when thou, my music, music play'st." I enjoyed them, but they would make more impact if spoken with more repose and less ostentatious "interpretation."

Two of the sets have meaningful Desert Chorale histories under recently deceased founder Lawrence Bandfield: the Three Shakespeare Songs of Ralph Vaughan Williams Noun 1. Ralph Vaughan Williams - English composer influenced by folk tunes and music of the Tudor period (1872-1958)
Vaughan Williams
 and Frank Martin's Songs of Ariel. Both were superbly and tenderly done, Habermann sculpting sculpting Cosmetic surgery The surgical reshaping of a tissue. See Deep tissue sculpting, Facial sculpting.  the lines with care. Several of Matthew Harris' Shakespeare Songs were fresh as a breezy morning, especially the naughty "When Daffodils Begin to Peer" from

The Winter's Tale. Jaakko Mantyjarvi showed himself, as always, a perfect compositional master of music and words in three songs on the Bard's texts plus the very difficult and excellently performed "No More Shakespeare Songs?" It

presents Puck's final speech from A Midsummer Night's Dream in a choral tour de force that Habermann and the singers conquered with ease.

Measure for Measure repeats on Thursday, July 23, and on July 29 and Aug. 3; the Sol y Canto repertoire opens on Tuesday, July 21, at the Santuario de Guadalupe. For tickets and information, call 988-2282 or 988-1234. <
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Title Annotation:Pasatiempo
Publication:The Santa Fe New Mexican (Santa Fe, NM)
Date:Jul 17, 2009
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