Out West Arts: Performance at the end of the world

Opera, music, theater, and art in Los Angeles and beyond

Aki Takahashi in recital

November 13, 2006

In case you’re wondering, the performance highlight of the weekend was the Aki Takahashi recital Sunday night at REDCAT. Takahashi has made a career out of playing and recording the work of contemporary composers. The little black box that is the REDCAT Theater was filled with the fleeting and beautiful sounds of a number of works that were all about simple and often unadorned phrases. The program included Marc Sabat’s Nocturnes (1996), Peter Garland’s Waves Breaking on Rocks (Elegy for All of Us) (2003), Feldman’s Extensions 3 (1953), and the world premiere of Somei Satoh’s HASHI (Bridges) (2006). The program concluded with five selections from the Hyper Beatles collection – a series of short works commissioned by Takahashi who asked contemporary composers to re-work favorite Beatles songs. The best of these was Carl Stone’s adaptation of “She Said She Said” replacing the driving rhythms of the original with rapid bursts of the melody's notes as if being played by someone completely unfamiliar with musical notation. The REDCAT is a small venue by any means and with pieces such as these that highlight the border between silence and sound it was an ideal location. I can't recall the last time I heard an audience sit so quietly as sounds faded in and away. All around a wonderful evening.

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