A less benign view of our technological future is offered in G. Anthony Svatek’s .TV, a deadly serious but wittily poised prophecy of environmental oblivion. The title is the official domain extension given to Tuvalu, a group of Polynesian islands in the South Pacific. With a land mass totaling only ten square miles, Tuvalu is the world’s fourth-smallest nation and the 189th member of the United Nations.
For over 40 years, the Kronos Quartet has been reimagining what a string quartet can be and fostering new music from diverse composers, more than 850 works and arrangements so far....Engaging pieces by Nicole Lizée, N. Rajam, Karin Rehnqvist, Albert Behar and the inimitable Pete Townshend of the Who (an arrangement of “Baba O’Riley”) completed the bill.
Behar’s work is based on breathing and the heartbeat—his own breathing and heartbeat actually. During the performance, Behar wore a LifeShirt, a device invented by his grandfather that wirelessly measures the vital signs of the person wearing it. For The Beauty in Breathing, Behar used the LifeShirt to project his own breathing and pulse into a Max/MSP patch that was displayed on a screen behind the ensemble. Conductor David Bloom then followed Behar’s heartbeat, which was constantly changing, like a metronome. Behar’s piece, with its ebbing and flowing pulses and swells, was truly remarkable to see performed live. I hope it receives another performance soon.
The most dramatic and seductive demonstration of this was the performance by Ariadne Greif, who possesses a luminous, expressive voice and an uncanny ability to imitate bird song....Her set ended with the charming “Two Selections From ‘Calligrammes,’ ” chansonlike settings of Apollinaire texts by Albert Behar, who accompanied Ms. Greif on accordion.
A library of works will eventually be collected (with composers being able to contribute online). To begin with, there are a handful of short pieces by an inventive 20-year-old Trimpin protégé from Ojai, Albert Behar, now studying in New York and already writing a string quartet for Kronos. One Sound Arch number, Behar’s “Stravinsky in Bali,” is a rollicking “Rite of Spring.”