Eighth Blackbird took flight with musical imagination
There are two types of art that I love and appreciate the most: art that is fun and easy to enjoy, and art that really engages my mind and makes me think. The other night, Eighth Blackbird brought both of those together for me. The music was enjoyable to listen to and also made me wonder: What is music, and what is art?
I had no sleep the night prior, and a busy day of work that left me exhausted I almost missed the show. I am so glad I didn't. With the dark-lit theater and some nice music, I felt certain I was going to be fighting to stay awake during the entire performance. Wrong! I was so excited and intrigued for the entire performance I didn't have a chance to snore or even feel tired for that matter.
A friend had mentioned that her husband bought the tickets for this show – she was expecting to hear some traditional classical music – which this was not. Even though she did not love this performance, she said she was glad she went, and could tell that these performers were excellent with their instruments.
On stage, Blackbird had a piano, cello, clarinet, flute and percussion, and even a few different versions of some of these instruments. Having looked them up on YouTube, I knew a little bit about what to expect, and I was excited. Hearing them perform live, though, was so much better than what I had anticipated.
I heard sounds I had never experienced these types of instruments make before. A few times, I found myself wondering which instrument even made a particular sound.At one point, it sounded almost as though the performers playing the wind instruments were sucking air out rather than blowing it in. Later, when I mentioned this to the flutist Nathalie Joachim, she chuckled and said it's a technique of simply blowing air through the instrument rather than actually playing it.
I wish more people would have shown up early to hear the talk before the show. The performers took a few minutes to explain what their music is and their motivation behind it. They mentioned that they want to "move music forward" using modern day, living and influential composers.
When asked, "What should we expect to hear or what should we be listening for?" The musicians responded with one word: "Nothing." They said they wanted us to come in with an open mind and no expectations, like a child being exposed to something new – suddenly getting wide-eyed about a first-time, exciting experience.
With the WMPAC winter season well underway, it's been great seeing so many younger kids at these shows. Emma Flach, who is 16 years old, was emotionally moved to tears several times throughout the Blackbird performance and said, "I really loved the murder ballads because we studied them in school. My favorite of them was ‘You are Free.’”
Eight-year-old Zoë Luchini said, "My favorite song was the one that sounded like the ocean.” She mentioned her favorite instrument was the flute; and appreciated that the flutist played three different versions of that instrument during the show.
I had only noticed two, so this was observant for an eight-year-old. Maybe I should have Zoë help me with reviews in the future. She also mentioned the flutist was playing nonstop. "I don't think she even took a single breath through the whole first song," Luchini said.
Joachim laughed at the compliment and said that at this elevation she was actually taking a lot more breaths than she normally does.
I have always loved the flute and even played it in band for a few years. It was refreshing to see them highlighting the flute throughout much of their performance.
Overall it was a fun, delightful and interesting evening. Art is important: We all deserve to be exposed to it and express it in our own way. Thank you for supporting and ultimately allowing more of us to experience the arts in Big Sky.