|Transient Glory™ Concert|
New York Concert Review, May 08
Review - Transient Glory VI
The Young People’s Chorus of New York City presented a masterful, memorable concert at Columbia’s Miller Theater entitled Transient Glory VII on April 27th. This unbelievably polished, professional-sounding ensemble is the resident chorus of the 92nd street Y and is directed by the outstanding young conductor Francisco J. Nunez, who founded the group in 1988. This past October, the chorus celebrated its 10th Anniversary as an independent chorus with a gala sold-out Carnegie Hall performance, and each year, the YPC serves more than 1,100 children ages 7 to 18 from the New York City area.
The Transient Glory Series was created in 2001, and seven years later, the chorus continues to commission music from today’s many respected composers. Since 2001, the YPC has sung the world premieres of more than 50 compositions, and all the works on this program were world premieres except for “The Song I Sing” by the Tony Award-winning team Stephen Flaherty and Lynn Ahrens and “Every Stop on the F train” by Michael Gordon. All works were commissioned by the group and will be integrated into their performances in the next 12 months, a very important venture. “The Song I sing” is an inspiring, joyous piece combining a multitude of styles, and the YPC sang it with enormous dedication and an innate know-how of all the various styles. But most impressively, they sounded better than most professional choruses, singing here ---and elsewhere on the program-- with impeccable intonation, exquisite blend of voicing and use of vibrato, excellent diction and precise rhythmic phrasing. Oh, and they sing everything from memory, allowing them to focus on the atmosphere of each work and their communication with the audience.
The next piece, “Every Stop on the F Train”, by the talented Michael Gordon would be tremendously challenging for any chorus, but YPC pulled out all the stops—so to speak. The work utilizes a fast-motion video of all the F Train stops throughout New York City, and while the complexity of the counterpoint and canons are impressive, the fairly lengthy work does become repetitious to a fault—(although the title hints at monotony being the point.) Some contrast of tempo, color or timbre was needed, but the work is somewhat saved by the distraction of video and the YPC’s boundless vocal energy. Bora Yoon’s memorable work, “Semaphore Conductus”, is a spacious, antiphonal surround sound work that features a long hypnotic crescendo and digitally processed sounds that take us to another time and place. The composition could easily have been monotonous but its altered, yet organic sections brought us some lovely variety. The YPC stayed on pitch and breath despite extremely long notes, and they maintained the sublime, ethereal atmosphere throughout.
Joan Tower’s touching “Can I” features antiphonal drum sets, whispering, chattering, clapping and a good deal of canonic counterpoint. What came across the most was the emotional investment of every chorus member. Douglas Cuomo’s “Fortune” also explored various sound effects—this time clicking, wind and water sounds and snapping. Here, the chorus showed off its solo voices, and the boy soloist, who was seated stage left, stood out with his lovely, pure tone. Ko Matsushita’s superb “Warabe-Uta” was the perfect conclusion because it impressed on a level that had not yet been explored on this concert: foreign language. And here, the YPC sang in Japanese –and again from memory! The diction came across clearly and authentically, and the composer seemed very pleased. No doubt, the learning of this work will prepare them for their 4-week, 25-city tour to Japan in 2009.
Maestro Nunez is the perfect conductor for this incredibly talented group, as his knowledge, energy and commitment transfer to these children with pure joy. I look forward to hearing this very special New York institution again and again.
Transient Glory 2007 - April 21 at 7:30pm
Transient Glory VII
Sunday, April 27th, 2008
New works by:
STEPHEN FLAHERTY AND LYNN AARONS
New film based on the work of