Saturday, July 5, 2008

Michael Galasso's Solo Concert in Spoleto: "a tour de force"

Spoleto Italy: A Lone Violinist at the Teatro Romano
July 1, 2008
Michael Galasso on stage at the Teatro Romano. (Andrea Kim Mariani)

SPOLETO, Italy — It was a tour de force of stamina and harmonic invention. For an hour, the violinist Michael Galasso stood alone on stage at the Teatro Romano, back-lit with a spotlight that ran the palette from rose to purple, and poured out arpeggios on his amplified instrument Tuesday night. He barely stopped.

Born in Louisiana, Mr. Galasso now lives in Paris. He collaborates frequently with directors and choreographers. At times, he sounded like a demented player of Bach partitas gone all Philip Glass, with occasional hints of bluegrass and Eastern flavors. Some stretches of material sounded classical, like the up and down chords of a Beethoven violin concerto cadenza.

The repeated figures seemed to have between 12 and 18 notes each, and frequently changed color subtly, like a slowly turning kaleidoscope. Sometimes they were as fast as 32nd-notes, or slow as 8th-notes, with a metronome beat of, say, 60. His beat was rock steady and intonation solid.

There was something hypnotic about it, like listening to Sufi music in a Western cast.

From the New York Times, ArtsBeat Blog.