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of the works were cast in such exotic terms that questions about their tuning
systems were immediately derailed. Mr. Reinhard's Atlantis, for
example used what was described as a microtonal tuba, played by David Grego,
but otherwise the ensemble consisted of chimes and conch shells. Of
course, the point of microtonal music is the music, not the microtonality,
and Mr. Reinhard made some interesting musical points in his evocation of
mythical antiquity (the shells and chimes) in contention with modernity (the
on Saturday also brought two other Reinhard projects: his completion of
Edgard Varese's Graphs and Time, a piece in graphic notation originally
intended for Charles Mingus's band, and his own Cosmic Rays, a
dazzlingly inventive although somewhat over-eclectic work for string quartet.
There is something
- 'classical' - about Reinhard's style and music. It's John Cage
with a heart, refined La Monte Young. Call it what you like, you
have to admire Reinhard for his intellectual-classical approach to stretching
and pushing the parameters of music vs. noises. I prefer to think
of it as music.
Some of the
most memorable moments were in solo settings. Bassoonist Johnny
Reinhard's Dune was a show-stopper in which he explored the
didjeridoo-like overtones and other new techniques on his instrument. He
literally took it apart at one point, to play the expressive, witty
beast within an often staid instrument.
credit, he plays microtonal bassoon with a razor-sharp tone and blinding
accuracy. When his pitch was a sixth-tone flatter than the piano's,
you knew he meant it and you heard that interval.
And once again,
we were entertained by the king of microtonal music, Mr. Johnny Reinhard,
bassoonist extraordinaire, who played (or shall we say channeled?) an
improvisational duet with Emmanuel Somer on English horn.
In the middle
of one song, though, festival director Johnny Reinhard stormed through
an incredible, ferocious, wailing, omnimicrotonal solo on the, Lord
help us, amplified bassoon. What an instrument for Jimi Hendrix's
reincarnation to turn up on.
intriguing, engrossing, bewildering, impressive, revelatory, a lost
masterpiece now found. All of this. Listening to Johnny
Reinhard's realization of Charles Ives' The Universe Symphony is like observing a session
of psychoanalysis in music - This is the hidden - the dream work - made
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