It's not often that you go to a "classical" concert and leave nodding your head in a rock-show haze of satisfaction. You're wishing the show didn't end and are still pulsing from the final sounds created on stage. Fortunately, many composers have tapped into a common desire for art music to have this effect on people. I can't imagine a better transition for an avid rock/pop fan into classical music than Sinopia's 9/7 show at Boston Conservatory. The entire program was extremely well played despite the endless obstacles in the music.
Sinopia started off with their own commision, Opal, by Mischa Salkind-Pearl, followed by a world premiere, Le Labyrinthe de Chartres, by Nicholas DeMaison. These two pieces were incredibly captivating and had many moments of beauty juxtaposed with chaos. Following these were two John Cage pieces, "Radio Music" and "Credo in Us". I am a huge John Cage fan so these were greatly appreciated (particularly as last week celebrated what would have been his 100th birthday). The use of the radio was quite exciting even though the pieces were written over 50 years ago. The final piece, Gatsbytron, by Eliot Britton proved an excellent cap to the diverse and fulfilling concert. The composer coordinated electronics while the ensemble played along using many percussion instruments, electric keyboard and even toy piano. The energy was at a very high level and could definitely be felt in the audience. There is always potential for programs primarily consisting of premieres to scare of would-be concertgoers. Despite this, most of the seats were filled and everyone there seemed to have greatly enjoyed the program. I hope that I can continue to support new music in Boston as there seems to be plenty of it going on all the time.