... and then there was the concert against carbon dioxide.
Inspired by Al Gore's (and now Arnold Schwarzenegger's) environmental
campaign and the film "An Inconvenient Truth," (http://tinyurl.com/2u56be),
there it was: the "Cozy Concert for Climate Concerns" Saturday evening,
in San Francisco's First Unitarian Universalist Church.
Opera conductor Sara Jobin and environmentalist Monisha Mustapha have
organized the impromptu musical celebration of the national campaign for
"cutting carbon dioxide 80% by 2050."
Unusual as this concert was, its quick and sudden creation seems just
as noteworthy. But Jobin had no choice in squeezing calls, invitations,
programming and rehearsals into a handful of days. The concert had to
coincide with the April 14 national "Climate Action," organized by Step
It Up (http://stepitup2007.org/).
More leisurely preparation was responsible for composing the works on
the program, Jobin having "invited composers to submit entertaining
and educational songs about global warming." There were five works on
the program, but the campaign continues.
Before a small, but demonstrative audience, the concert featured a
couple of agit-prop pieces, but others were only vaguely or not at all
connected with the theme. Mustapha explained that just as Gore offered
"an alternative to denial or despair" about the consequences of global
warming, likeminded people forming a community while sharing a musical
experience is all to the good.
The concert's most enjoyable work had a somewhat tenuous connection with
the environment, sustainable only if hurrican Katrina's devastation and
the pitiful federal response can be linked to global warming. Brian
Holmes' "Fashion God Aria" takes its text from e-mails and testimony
before Congress by former FEMA director Michael Brown. A vigorous,
rollicking piece, reminiscent of Victorian music hall times, the song
got a terrific performance from baritone Dale Murphy, backed by Holmes
on French horn, Jobin on piano, child prodigy Nathan Chan on cello, and
- yes - audience participation. Fighting global warming musically CAN
The more nonindulgent pieces came from Bill MacSems ("A Global Warming
Quandary") and Janis Dunson Wilson ("There Will Always Be Kids"), performed
by mezzo Alexis Lane Jensen and Jobin. Berkeley composer Clark Suprynowicz
offered three pieces from "Global Warming: Duets," performed by soprano
saxophonist Georgianna Krieger, with a rather overwhelming piano
accompaniment by Lara Bolton.
Entertaining but not germane to the issue (or anything else) was D.C.
Meckler's "Mining Song," to text by an English-language dictation program's
attempt to deal with the original German of Heine's "Dichterliebe," poems
set to music more felicitiously by Schumann.
Future concerts are being planned and if there is deviation from the
strictly local nature of this event, perhaps R. Murray Schafer's "Music
for Wilderness Lake," a prominent piece of "environmental music," will
be on the program. Jobin & Co. would have their hands full with that
one: performed by 12 trombonists positioned around the shore, the piece
is conducted from a raft in the middle of the lake, wildlife contributing
to the work at random.
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