An Orchestral Reinterpretation of a Bowie Classic

18/06/2018

David Bowie, Black Star: Maya Beiser (cello), Donny McCaslin Band, Ensemble LPR / Evan Ziporyn (conductor), Central Park Summerstage. New York, NY. 9.6.2018. (DS)

It couldn’t have been a better kick off to Central Park’s Summerstage. Attracting an ample audience in this intimate outdoor clearing, the still-mourned David Bowie landed on stage — in spirit, that is — via the musical messengers of Donny McCaslin’s Band and Ensemble LPR led by Evan Ziporyn, featuring cellist Maya Beiser. The show’s centerpiece was an orchestral rendition of Bowie’s last album, Black Star, with solo vocals replaced by the rockstar bravado of Beiser’s unabashed solo cello.

The Grammy-winning Donny McCaslin Band, who had performed with Bowie on tour, opened the evening’s concert, with several Bowie covers interspersed with their own songs. McCaslin led on sax with a visceral excitement that riffed across the boundaries of rock, jazz, and the contemporary edges of classical. His playing caught the drive of each song and encapsulated its core message with an ease of delivery. Vocals and synthesizer blended otherworldly accents into textures that recalled a past-decade’s pop enthusiasm without sacrificing a fresh sound.

Like great classical compositions transcribed into various forms, the songs of great pop artists are not pigeon-holed to their original forms of expression. Ziporyn, Beiser, and the ensemble demonstrated this by passionately delivering Bowie’s composition without vocals, but with a full ensemble of classical talent. Their performance was a gift to the audience, a privileged opportunity to marry the musicians’ talents with that of the great cultural icon. Similar to string quartets, which have drawn out the melodies and harmonies of canonic pop works like The Beatles’ ‘Eleanor Rigby’ and Nirvana’s ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’, we will likely be hearing many rebirthings of Bowie compositions. And in the hands of firmly competent artists, they will link the inevitable mood of reminiscence with a captivating new interpretation.

Daniele Sahr

Comments

Leave a Reply

Recent Reviews

MW

Facebook-button-1

Season Previews

__________________________________
  • NEW! Bampton Classical Opera’s 2019 Performances of Stephen Storace’s Gli sposi malcontenti __________________________________
  • NEW! Nevill Holt Opera’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2019 Aldeburgh Festival at the Snape Maltings in June __________________________________
  • NEW! Garsington Opera’s 2019 30th Anniversary Season __________________________________
  • NEW! Clara Schumann Festival at St John’s Smith Square – 22 to 24 February 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Venus Unwrapped: Kings Place’s Year-Long Focus on Women Composers __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Buenos Aires in 2019 – Largely Traditional __________________________________
  • NEW! Looking Ahead to the 2019 Lucerne Festivals __________________________________
  • NEW! Opera Holland Park’s 2019 Season __________________________________
  • NEW! The Met: Live in HD in 2018/19 __________________________________
  • NEW! The Royal Opera House’s Exciting 2018/19 Cinema Season __________________________________
  • UPDATED! Zurich Opera in 2018/2019 and Beyond __________________________________
  • NEW! Salzburg Whitsun Festival 7 – 10 June 2019 __________________________________
  • NEW! Bolshoi Ballet 2018/19 UK Cinema Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018-2019 Geneva Grand Theâtre Season __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Hallé Season in Manchester __________________________________
  • NEW! 2018/19 Tonhalle Orchestra Zürich __________________________________
  • Subscribe to Review Summary Newsletter

    Reviews by Reviewer

    News and Featured Articles

    __________________________________
  • NEW! Arthur Butterworth and David Jennings Premieres in Lancaster on 1 March __________________________________
  • NEW! Ivan Putrov’s Against the Stream Ballet Gala Night on 7 April __________________________________
  • NEW! English Symphony Orchestra Bring Music from Wagner’s Epic Ring Cycle to the Swan Theatre __________________________________
  • NEW! London To Hear Long-Overdue Revival of Parry’s Oratorio Judith in April __________________________________
  • NEW! Russian Ballet Icons Gala 31 March 2019 at the London Coliseum __________________________________
  • NEW! PIANIST MARC-ANDRÉ HAMELIN IN CONVERSATION WITH GEOFFREY NEWMAN __________________________________
  • NEW! Ik zeg: NU: I say now, now … an interview with Richard Causton __________________________________
  • NEW AND UPDATED! SOME OF SEEN AND HEARD’S REVIEWERS LOOK BACK AT 2018 __________________________________
  • NEW! CONDUCTOR ÁDÁM FISCHER IN CONVERSATION WITH MICHAEL COOKSON __________________________________
  • NEW! SOPRANO ELENA MOȘUC IN CONVERSATION WITH CASEY CREEL __________________________________
  • NEW! MAESTRO RICCARDO FRIZZA IN CONVERSATION WITH MARGARIDA MOTA-BULL __________________________________
  • NEW! A Q&A WITH GERMAN SOPRANO PETRA LANG __________________________________
  • NEW! TENOR NICHOLAS PHAN IN CONVERSATION WITH CHRISTOPHER SALLON __________________________________
  • HOW TO CONTACT SEEN AND HEARD INTERNATIONAL __________________________________
  • Search S&H

    Archives by Week

    Archives by Month