Minimal piece delivers big reaction

Xing 32nd Street performed at the Glendale Community College’s Performing Arts Center. The group exhibited their musical skills on two nights. The first was Friday, Feb. 9. The second was Saturday, Feb. 10. Both shows began at 7:30 p.m.

The ensemble included Dr. Robert Esler, Dr. Douglas Nottingham, Dr. Brett Reed and Dr. Lisa Tolentio. Esler and Nottingham are faculty members of GCC’s music department.

On Friday, the pieces were “ILOVEYOU Stuxnet” and “Music Im Bauch (Music in the Belly)”. Saturday featured one piece, “Drumming.”

“ILOVEYOU Stuxnet” is composed byGCC’s own Dr. Robert Esler. Launched in 2017, the composition tells the tragic love story between two computer viruses. A giant screen displayed the virus coding while the musicians read their lines and played their instruments. As less abstract electronic music played, a brief animation of virus characters dancing took the screen. The imaginative song was featured last semester.

“Music Im Bauch (Music in the Belly)” was more scenic compared to the first. Composer Karlheinz Stockhausen premiered the song in 1975. Part of the surreal atmosphere came from the strange but fitting stage setting. Miron the Bird, a large mannequin, hung in the center of the stage. Performers wearing dark blue jumpsuits walked on stage in a mechanic-like fashion. Their percussion instruments encompassed a glockenspiel, the marimba, tubular bells and switches. What gives the title meaning is that the performers take large scissor and cut open the puppet’s chest, pulling out a music box. The song ended with the performers exiting the stage but keeping three music boxes playing their tunes until they wind down, leaving the audience to a dreamlike state.

“Drummer” was composed by Steve Reich. Working with four different parts, the music was first featured between 1970-1971. It involved constructing a rhythm, deconstructing it and building upon it. Instruments included bongos, the marimba, the glockenspiel, vocals and a whistler. The rhythmic drumming on the bongos was said to have a West African drumming-style. The first three parts solely featured one percussion instrument. The final part involved all three. All movements were segued.

In addition to the GCC faculty, GCC music students participated alongside in “Drummer.” All members moved across the stage to each position in a graceful manner. For a minimal piece, the song’s run time was an estimated one hour and fifteen-minute.

All compositions brought astounding applauses.

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