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Igor Stravinsky's LES NOCES
The Maybeck House
Berkeley, CA
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Igor Stravinsky's LES NOCES
Friday, July 29 @ 8 p.m.
The Maybeck House, Berkeley, CA

Diana Pray: soprano
Elise Cumberland: mezzo-soprano
Danishta Rivero: alto
Dominique Leone: tenor
Alexandra Buschman: bass
Kanoko Nishi: piano
Regina Schaffer: piano
Kate McLoughlin: conductor
Jordan Glenn: percussion
Jason Hoopes: bass
Mark Clifford: mallets

LES NOCES (2011)

Igor Stravinsky (1882-1971) composed his ballet Les Noces ("The Wedding") during 1913-1917, and as with The Rite of Spring, Petrushka and The Firebird, premiered it with the Ballets Russes group and choreography by Bronislava Nijinska.  Its "story" is but scenes from a typical Russian wedding, with characters such as the bride, groom and surrounding family fretting about the event, and each other.

Unlike the composer's previous works, Les Noces was originally realized through a decidedly non-symphonic arrangement of four pianos, percussion, and a vocal ensemble of four soloists and chorus.  Stripped down to these most basic elements, the intensity of Stravinsky's composition shines through like a razor-sharp beacon. Rhythms pound furiously, vocal lines criss-cross before the storm of percussion and pianos lest they be flattened by the fiery stomp.  Les Noces is often considered the last great piece of Stravinsky's "Russian" period, before the composer dove into other idioms, such as neo-classicism and 12-tone music.

Enter Dominique Leone, Kanoko Nishi and Regina Schaffer.  With only two pianos, one singer and a computer, their Les Noces is realized as forcefully and true to its spirit as any prior recording.  And note: this is no "redux" or re-imagining of the piece.  Leone, Nishi and Schaffer have stayed entirely true to the score, but simplifying four pianos down to two, and with Leone singing all vocal parts with just a little help from a single pitch-shifter for soprano and bass parts.  This is as inspired and magnificently irreverent performance of Stravinsky's work as has ever been created.

Maybeck Recital Hall, also known as Maybeck Studio for Performing Arts, is located inside the Kennedy-Nixon House in Berkeley, California, USA. It was built in 1914 by Bernard Maybeck. The hall seats up to 50 people and was designed upon commission for the Nixon family, local arts patrons who wanted a live-in studio for their daughter Milda's piano teacher, Mrs. Alma Kennedy. The room is paneled in unfinished clear-heart redwood, which contributes to an unusually rich and warm, yet bright and clear acoustic quality. There are two grand pianos in the space: a Yamaha S-400, and a Yamaha C7. Maybeck originally designed the space to accommodate an 1898 7-foot Bechstein.

The Maybeck will host Les Noces on July 29 and 30, 2011 at 8 p.m.


The Maybeck House
address contained in ticket confirmation
Berkeley, CA 94708
United States


Music > Classical
Music > Experimental

Kid Friendly: Yes!
Dog Friendly: No
Non-Smoking: Yes!
Wheelchair Accessible: No


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