The freeway ends a few miles from Ojai. You have to slow down to get there. You look at the hills and at the valley floor. You look at the trees. You think about the concerts you’ll hear over the next hundred hours.
The group eighth blackbird was named Music Director of this 63rd instance of the Ojai Music Festival, and this initially-surprising choice is looking to be one of Thomas Morris’ more inspired ideas. They’ve put together an exciting program. (Yes, I do say that almost every year.) Here’s an eighth blackbird blog about this year’s event.
Last night’s opening concert was a perfect beginning. The focus of the concert was George Crumb’s great 1974 “Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III)” for two amplified pianos plus two percussion (plus additional sounds). Lisa Kaplan (of 8th) and Jeremy Denk were pianists, and Matthew Duvall (8th) and Doug Perkins were percussion. I’m in favor of a Crumb revival; this was a delight.
The concert began with Duvall, Perkins, and Todd Meehan playing Thierry de Mey’s “Musique de Table” (1987) for three amplified “tables” (flat wooden slabs with a hollow sound chamber). Here’s a YouTube recording of the work. After this start, Kaplan and Denk played a two-piano (plus recorded electronics) version of John Luther Adams’ work “Dark Waves” from 2007, an escape from the mundane, a contemplation. The first half closed with Takemitsu’s “Rain Tree” (1981) for vibraphone (Duvall), marimbas (Perkins and Greg Beyer) and crotales. The performance didn’t evoke rain, but it bring us in the audience into its own quiet world.
This was a lovely evening.