Monday, March 4, 2013

Music: Laurie Anderson and the Kronos Quartet

Perth Concert Hall
27 February 2013

I’m curious to know what Laurie Anderson had in mind doing when she locked in the commission to collaborate and tour with the Kronos Quartet that saw her on stage with them at the Perth Concert Hall last night.
Landfall, the massive, elegiac work they performed was clearly not how Scenes From My New Novel, the title of the work they were commissioned for, was originally planned. No one can plan for a spring tide and a great wind from the south.
pic: Ben Crabtree
On October 29 last year, just as we were sending back our RSVPs for the Perth Festival launch, Hurricane Sandy smashed into the US Eastern Seaboard, wrecking the great Atlantic boardwalks and the communities behind it and flooding much of Lower Manhattan (including, we learn in Landfall, Anderson’s basement). That event, the foreboding of its approach and the effect, both physical and emotional, of its arrival, dominate the seventy-minute piece.
Ironic, then, that Anderson and Kronos were performing in Perth just as Rusty, our clockwise version of Sandy, was making a landfall of his own on the Pilbara Coast.
What transpired can’t be better described than it is by the great Ray Purvis in The West link here, and I share his enthusiasm entirely (although I’ve always been reminded more of John Huston in Chinatown than Darth Vader by Anderson’s pet vocoder voice). For me, it was a fitting end to a festival spinning around the eye of the avant-garde, especially in its American manifestations.   

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