Impressions from Row G
by Arlene and Larry Dunn (@ICEfansArleneLD)
ICE member and percussion wizard Ross Karre joined Third Coast Percussion Ensemble and Greg Beyer (of the duo ensemble Due East) in a stunning performance of Gerard Grisey's all percussion masterpiece Le Noir de l'Etoile (The Darkness of the Star) at Adler Planetarium in Chicago on Wednesday, March 14.
Le Noir de l'Etoile was inspired by the deep space phenomenon of neutron star pulsars. These pulsars are super-novas which, having exhausted their fuel, have collapsed into super dense neutron cores that continue to spin in space and emit a highly regular pulse of energy as they spin. You can learn more about pulsars from NASA.
Grisey’s astounding music channeled this primordial energy of the universe and transported us to distant galaxies. Six percussionists positioned in a circle surrounding the audience were armed with hundreds of meticulously specified objects that they banged, stroked, and jangled, whipping sonic threads around the room. The Adler Planetarium was a wonderful venue with its perfectly round Grainer Sky Theater and night-sky show projections. A slight downside, the acoustics were so clean that this sound-explosion was probably not as overwhelming at it would be in a more resonant hall.
Ross is a dedicated champion of Le Noir de l'Etoile and has performed it numerous times including the American premiere in California, The Asian premier in Taiwan, and the Australian premiere in Tasmania. We recommend that anyone interested in contemporary percussion music and the mysteries of the universe jump at the chance to hear this piece live.
Arlene (acornarlene [at] gmail [dot] com) and Larry (acornled [at] gmail [dot] com)
• Le Noir de l'Etoile can be heard on a surround sound SACD by Les Percussions de Strasbourg on the import label Musicdisc.