It’s been a while since I’ve been into see A Far Cry, Boston’s young and much-lauded “self-conducted” chamber ensemble, and really any music in general. So it was a real pleasure to hear their most recent program which based itself thematically on the heart; its empathy (a moody Shostakovich chamber symphony), its yearning (John Adams’ Shaker Loops), its capacity for love (a Debussy encore), and its physicality as a muscle. For this last manifestation of the heart, A Far Cry backed up string duo K2–a.k.a A Far Cry bassist Karl Doty and his childhood friend Kip Jones–in the premiere of Jones’ concerto Three Views of a Mountain.
The concerto sounded like a mash-up of of Reich and poppy neo-folk, although I don’t mean to call it derivative. Jones’ finger-picking and rock star artistically involved stage presence (looking more like Andrew Bird in a more pensive number than a classical musician), Doty’s jazzy bass lines, and soft vocal notes delicately layered over the music made for a fantastic lively entry into A Far Cry’s program that channeled both Minimalism and Americana.
If you want a closer reading of the music, see Steven Ledbetter’s review. Suffice it to say that the Jordan Hall audience went wild for K2, digging their pop sensibility and unique sound and style. I found the music invigorating and much more satisfying than the adult contemporary Classical/Folk stuff the major labels put out with Yo-Yo Ma sitting in. I’ll be buying K2′s album off their Bandcamp soon.
Watch K2 perform in this KUMD studio session in their hometown of Duluth, Minnesota.
Vist A Far Cry’s website for a list of upcoming concerts. I can’t wait to see them in the Gardner’s new space.