They did a fantastic job. If you have a chance to see one of their shows, definitely do it. They choose great, interesting repertoire, and the playing is just top notch. Also they’re a new music ensemble that frequently does large scale works with conductor, which is unusual and fantastic.
I realized something when getting ready to introduce this piece live before the show. Trying to say what a piece is about in thirty seconds or less is tricky, especially when the piece in question is a wordless musical setting of The Waste Land, a poem that prides itself on how unintelligibly dense and modernist it is.
But then it hit me how to make the subject matter work: The Waste Land is about the same thing as Downton Abbey.
Specifically, it’s about the damage that World War I did to a particular kind of aristocratic Englishness.
So when you listen to the piece, you’ll hear flashes of early 20th century modernism clashing with moments of Mahlerian Belle Epoque nostalgia. It’s all about the end of an era. Anyway, enjoy: