Variety of works a tribute to Hudson

The Egg’s grand experiment for the opening event of the Hudson River Quadricentennial Celebration on

The Egg’s grand experiment for the opening event of the Hudson River Quadricentennial Celebration on Sunday night, combining poetry, three musical world premieres, painting and film, was a great success.

Although organizational issues often kept the large crowd waiting and listening to recorded sounds of water gurgling, the high standards of the offerings made the evening worthwhile.

It began with David Gonzalez eloquently reading the first part of his poem “Oh Hudson,” which was both historical and colorfully descriptive.

Then fiddler Mark O’Connor, violinist Colin Jacobsen, violist Max Mandel and cellist Eric Jacobsen performed O’Connor’s “Old Time” string quartet, with slides of paintings of Hudson River views, one for each of the four movements, projected behind them.

With O’Connor tapping his right foot in time, the players were expert in the fiddling style, which had a lot of fast-moving notes in close harmony weaving in and out.

His outer two movements were terrific, with lots of high energy, offbeat moments and happy moods. The slow second movement wandered, but the third was very boppy and rhythmic. The audience gave them a standing ovation.

Gonzalez recited part two of his poem, and then Don Byron’s “Tide” was performed with a string quartet, piano and Byron on clarinet.

Ben Long’s mostly black and white film depicted scenes of New York City, industrial sites, Hyde Park, wartime leaders, Byron’s home and Byron’s feline pal, Audrey.

Byron’s music was like a travelogue that described the film scenes — often compelling, sometimes percussive and finally charming.

The quintet acted more as a backdrop for Byron’s usually jazz-like riffs, except in a 1930s-like dance hall combo, and then ended with sleepytime music for a dozing kitty.

Gonzalez appeared for the final installment of his poem, and Daniel Bernard Roumain’s piece “Soundtrack to a Shared Dream” was performed. Roumain was on violin with a string quartet, piano, electric bass, and percussion, which were all amplified.

Because of time constraints, this reporter was only able to hear the opening moments of the Roumain work, which initially began slowly with the string quartet in a tonal and classical form. There was also a film by Bill Morrison.

Categories: Life and Arts

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