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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 8:46 pm 
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http://www.straight.com/arts/857191/tur ... ard-varese



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Turning Point Ensemble pays innovative tribute to Frank Zappa, by way of Edgard Varese
by Alexander Varty on January 18th, 2017 at 11:49 AM



There’s a lot to like about the Mothers of Invention’s 1966 debut, Freak Out!, from its solarized cover—with bandleader Frank Zappa in a moth-eaten coonskin coat—to the music inside, a truly psychedelic mashup of sounds made by an artist whose only drug was the nicotine that eventually killed him.

Those sounds ranged from a wonderfully scabrous blues called “Trouble Comin’ Every Day”, so pointedly political it could have been written last week, to the sidelong percussion frenzy that is “The Return of the Son of Monster Magnet”. But for a certain subset of young explorers, the most mind-blowing element was buried in the double LP’s liner notes, in the form of a “relevant quote” from 1921, attributed to one “Edgar Varèse”.

“The present-day composer refuses to die!” it read. Those who chose to follow that thread soon found themselves in a sonic landscape beyond anything they might otherwise have imagined—and some, like musical provocateur John Oswald and Turning Point Ensemble co–artistic director Owen Underhill, continue to find inspiration in that world.

“As a teenager, I followed Frank Zappa and the Mothers of Invention,” says Underhill in a phone call from his East Van home. “And then when I went to university and started doing composition, I started to make the link and became very interested in [Edgard] Varèse as probably the most innovative composer, in terms of sounds and orchestration and imagining a totally new music. He was imagining electronic music 20 years before he was able to actually do it.”

Oswald had a very similar experience, encountering Varèse and Zappa’s music when he was in his very early teens—the same age Zappa was when he first heard his Franco-American inspiration. And now he and Underhill are collaborating on Frank Zappa Meets Varèse and Oswald, jointly produced by Turning Point and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival.

Oswald’s contribution, Refuse, is an album-side–long collage of musical references—some immediately recognizable, others arcane—that alludes to both Varèse and Zappa’s ways of working. “When I got asked to do this piece, I couldn’t resist, just because of the nascent influence that both of these guys had on me at about the same time,” Oswald says on the line from his Toronto home. “And then there’s the pleasurable research that I had in preparing to do this project, which was re-immersing myself in the music of that period that I was probably listening to—which was everything from spy-movie soundtracks and hi-fi show-off records to the chiefly English rock bands that came to my attention around the time that the Beatles arrived on The Ed Sullivan Show, which was ’64.”

Varèse will be represented by a pair of breakthrough works from the early 1920s, while an expanded, 30-piece version of Turning Point will play Zappa’s The Yellow Shark, essentially the iconoclastic composer and satirist’s last will and testament. What links all three composers is their use of what Varèse called “sound masses”: sculptural blocks of tone that can be stacked or superimposed to achieve extreme density. It’s an approach Oswald often deploys, both in his “plunderphonic” compositions, in which digital samples of iconic pop songs and classical works are mashed together, and in what he calls “rascally klepertoire”, which involves the reorganization and superimposition of pre-existing scores to both insightful and parodic effect.

“In the early part of conceiving this piece, I was tempted to use samples that would be probably played from some kind of keyboard,” says Oswald of Refuse, which, apart from his use of electric guitar, is otherwise unamplified. “But I’m glad I left that behind. I’m trying to do well in this world that Varèse and Zappa really excelled in. The larger-ensemble pieces that Zappa has in this program are really gorgeously orchestrated, and Varèse’s stuff is unique, so the competition’s pretty high!”

Turning Point Ensemble and the PuSh International Performing Arts Festival present Frank Zappa Meets Varèse and Oswald at SFU Woodward’s Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre from next Friday to Sunday (January 27 to 29).

SHOWTIMES

Jan 27, 8:00 pm - Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
Jan 28, 8:00 pm - Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre
Jan 29, 3:00 pm - Fei and Milton Wong Experimental Theatre

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PostPosted: Wed Jan 18, 2017 9:21 pm 
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Holy shit!! :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 9:13 pm 
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Ronny's Noomies wrote:
Holy shit!! :shock:


That's what I was thinking too! :wink:

How the hell are they going to pull this off?!

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 28, 2017 2:41 pm 
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Here's another article about the 3 performances. I'm going to the one tonight. I'll review the performance sometime this weekend...


http://www.sfu.ca/sfunews/stories/2017/ ... anada.html

SFU Woodward’s to present first Frank Zappa concert in Canada

January 27, 2017
By Wan Yee Lok

For the first time in Canadian history, a concert dedicated to Frank Zappa will be presented. SFU Woodward’s partners with Turning Point Ensemble to present Frank Zappa meets Varése and Oswald as part of the PuSh Festival. The concert is conducted by Owen Underhill, a professor at SFU’s School for the Contemporary Arts (SCA) and a member of Turning Point Ensemble.

In anticipation for the concert, SFU News sat down with Underhill to learn more about Frank Zappa, his musical style and influence today.

Who is Frank Zappa?

Frank Zappa was composer and electric guitarist whose first album came out in 1966. He founded the group, Mothers of Invention, which was one of the most daring and brilliant rock bands during that period. His work was always quite experimental, part jazz and part contemporary music. As his career continued, he also composed for the symphony orchestras. Zappa passed away in 1993 from cancer but his influence has only increased over the years, not only in music but in other art mediums as well.

As a composer and conductor yourself, is your work influenced by Zappa?

I followed Zappa’s work when I was young and bought all his albums. His work always fascinated me. I've always admired Zappa so it has been a long dream of mine to perform his most famous pieces in a concert.

Who should attend this concert?

Anyone who knows Frank Zappa's music or wonders who Frank Zappa is should attend. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear his work live. I don't think a concert like this has ever been done in Canada. One of Canada's most innovative composer John Oswald will also have a premiere that I will be conducting in the concert.

What are some of the concert highlights?

For those who know Zappa, we're doing some of his most well-known pieces including Uncle Meat, Peaches En Regalia and The Dog Breath variations. One of the works, G-Spot Tornado will be choreographed by SFU SCA professor Rob Kitsos as well.

The concert starts today and continues on to Sunday, Jan 29, 2017.

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 29, 2017 10:36 pm 
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The Turning Point Ensemble, conducted by Owen Underhill are committed to performing works by composers that have existed over the past 100 years. And last night, at the Fei And Milton Wong Experimental Theatre, they were remarkable.

I took my 4th row seat and immediately immersed myself in the mini-programme they handed out to fans before entering the theatre, studying the ensemble and setlist.

Opening with Dog Meat, then directly firing into Outrage At Valdez & Be-Bop Tango, TTPE immediately drew inspiration from the expertise of The Ensemble Modern's performances. I'm not that familiar with Varese's material, but paid close attention to TTPE's cacophonous renditions. The acoustics within this venue (which I'd never been to before) were breathtaking. Production values were minimal, including a rectangular screen with two small video pods positioned above Owner Underhill and behind the ensemble, that filmed TTPE and parts of the audience for live projection. Images of FZ & Varese were also used. After a short 15 minute intermission, TTPE performed the world premiere of Refuse, by Canadian composer, John Oswald. The first half of this composition comprised of snippets of familiar pop cultural themes, like 007, Perry Mason, Bonanza, Star Wars, etc., and of course, an obscure FZ favourite, Holiday In Berlin. The second half was the complete opposite dynamic. Oswald's barren, stark and bleak sound scape captured a mood rarely felt in classical music - definitely one of the highlights of the night. Afterwards, Oswald emerged from the audience and took a much deserved bow. The Girl In The Magnesium Dress, was a surprise and was executed wonderfully. And ending the main set, G-Spot Tornado, complete with two young energetic dancers, in the form of La La La Human Steps. Yes, TTPE actually pulled this one off too. For the unexpected encore, Peaches En Regalia and a second take of Dog Meat were performed to perfection and brought the nearly 2 hour show to a close. I don't think I heard any mistakes?! Simply amazing! My only criticism, is that some of the electric instruments were a little under-mixed. Regardless, I thoroughly enjoyed the performances and so did the 300 or so other Zappa fanatics.

I sure hope TTPE perform more of FZ's classical works in the future. And judging by the audience's reaction, they probably will. Pretty damn good for only $25!


SETLIST (from mini-programme):

Dog Meat [1970/1992]...5:30
Large Ensemble

Outrage at Valdez [1992]...3:30
Large Ensemble

Be-Bop Tango [1992]...4:00
Large Ensemble

Octandre [1923]...8:00
I Assez Ient
II Tres vif et nerveux
III Grave

Flute (Piccolo), Oboe, Clarinet, Bassoon, Horn, Trumpet, Trombone, Contrabass

Times Beach II [1985]...8:00
Flute, Oboe, Clarinet, Bass Clarinet, Horn, Contrabassoon

Integrales [1924-25]...10:00
For 11 Wind Instruments & Percussion

==================Intermission=======================

Refuse [2017]...15:00
Large Ensemble

III Revised [1985/1992]...2:00
String Quintet

The Girl In The Magnesium Dress [1992]...4:30
Three Percussion, Celesta, Mandolin, Guitar, Harp, Piano

Get Whitey [1992]...6:30
Large Ensemble

G-Spot Tornado [1992]...3:30
Large Ensemble
Original Choreography: Rob Kitsos
Dancers: Anya Saugstad & Diego Romero

Encore (not listed in mini-programme):

Peaches En Regalia [1969]...3:30

Dog Meat [1970/1992]...5:30
Large Ensemble

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 30, 2017 10:54 pm 
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Seriously...is NO ONE interested in commenting on the above?! :shock:

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PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 2:55 pm 
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Sounds way cool, wish I could have attended. The world needs more stuff like this.

However, it is certainly NOT 'the first Zappa concert in Canada'.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performed a stellar show in 2011:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21267


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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 9:03 pm 
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TwentySmallCigars wrote:
Sounds way cool, wish I could have attended. The world needs more stuff like this.

However, it is certainly NOT 'the first Zappa concert in Canada'.

The Edmonton Symphony Orchestra performed a stellar show in 2011:

viewtopic.php?f=2&t=21267


Good point. I noticed this too.

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PostPosted: Fri Feb 03, 2017 10:44 pm 
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Disco Boy wrote:
Seriously...is NO ONE interested in commenting on the above?! :shock:
The majority of the forum would have to take you off ignore to do that.

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The way I see it Barry, this should be a very dynamite show.


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PostPosted: Sat Feb 04, 2017 3:53 pm 
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polydigm wrote:
Disco Boy wrote:
Seriously...is NO ONE interested in commenting on the above?! :shock:
The majority of the forum would have to take you off ignore to do that.


Yeah, I guess they don't like acknowledging the truth... :roll:

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