Saturday, September 28, 2013

Out of the Past, Symphony and Sawdust: Strike up the Clowns! Circus Musica Promises to Raise the Conductor's Baton

 Originally posted  September 28, 2013

Update, Today The show is still on tour, with a date December 19 at Portland, and dates before and after that in British Columbia.

Roll up your rings!  Here's Comes the Concert Hall Big Top!

Europe's renowned audience participation jester, David Larible stars. 

Down the Covington chute:  Direct from Texas, yet another alternative big top rises from the Long Horn state, which is turning itself into a launch pad for The New.  If their latest invention, Cirque Musica, pans out through inaugural dates in a few concert halls (Baltimore, Buffalo and Calgary), the majority in arenas, you may get to watch buffoonery to Brahms, rolla-bolla to Ravel.

For the Double Wheel's furry, I recommend a touch of  Shostakovitch

Cirque Musica promises a program that "blends the grace and thrills of the world’s greatest circus performers with stunning symphonic music from classical, POPS, and popular repertoire."

Already, I'm a sucker, waiting for them to play the Paramount Theatre here in Oakland. The perfect venue for what it looks like they are up to.  The Oakland Symphony could be had, I suppose, for a bargain basement price.

 Looks maybe cool

Who is behind this Brahmsian ballyhoo?  Producer Stephen Cook, who comes with "leadership" positions, according to website bios,  from the Dallas Symphony to Feld Entertainment. Not bad.

He has a vision.  Will the people come?  A teaser video is a fair wow.  A violinist appears to have been extended to the upward tip of a free-flowing fabric, playing away.  A young singer delivers a soulful modern ballad.  Most of acts bear strong classical scoring.  Count me in on this one!

Check out their website:

Imagining the impact of Old World music on a conventional lineup of circusy acts, here is my wish list for high- brow sawdust scoring:

 At least, she's riding her hoop, not navel-twirling it

Number One:  Stravinsky's Petrushka gets my top vote.  I can't think of a more jubilant musical background to run, tumble, cavort and sore with the joy, wonderment, thrills, chills and thunder of a circus show.  Best of all, it's in public domain, so producer Cook and Company would be spared any inconvenient fees to the Mother Monster of Musicians-Come-First greed - ASCAP.

As for select acts, here are some suggestions:

Fabrics:  Ravel, Daphnis and Chloe

Jugglers:  Debussy, Calliwog's Cakewalk

Canon:  Respighi, Roman Festivals

Flying Trapeze: Ravel, La Valse

Kelly Miller Peanut Pitch: Rimsky-Korsakov, Flight of the Bumblebee

Elephants (none here, but heck, for the fun of it ...):  Bartok, Concerto for Orchestra. Band 1: Introduction.   Bartok's bleak landscape, haunting and primordial, should give the pachyderms a more authentic sense of place, re-birthing them into their native terrain. Of course, PETA might complain that the number is too too existentially depressing.

Dogs:  Gershwin, American in Paris, the opening sequence.  They will love.

Clowns: Beethoven's Ninth  (I just threw it in for effect). 

David Larible: Ives, The Unanswered Question

My prognosis:  Sounds enchanting, if they play my favorites. Perhaps too good to be true, considering the musical preferences of a populist audience.  Therefore, as iffy as twelve tone.

 How about Tchaikovsky's Nutcracker for a whip-cracking Texan?


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