Sunday, November 14, 2010

Classical Revolution Cleveland November Edition (@ Prosperity Social Club)

Walking into Prosperity Social Club a bit tardy this evening my ears were hit with a lively dance tune courtesy of a string quintet; my eyes once again struck by the incongruity of the perennially spinning disco ball above the unassuming stage.

The opening stanzas from The Limousines' Internet Killed The Video Star played through my head and seemed apt given the classical music audience situation: "The kids are disco dancing/They're tired of rock and roll/I tried to tell them 'hey, that drum machine ain't got no soul/But they don't want to listen, no/They think they've heard it all/They trade their guitars in for drum machines and disco balls"

Absent said disco ball, the "Food" and "Liquor" neon signs in the windows, and the drop ceiling, I wondered if this might be considered continuing the tradition of the medieval tavern band.

Tonight the guitars, violins, cellos, harp, saw, turkey baster, and other assorted instruments peacefully existed with the disco ball, and there wasn't a drum machine to be seen; while a drum machine may have no soul the performances tonight were full of it. As the front door let occasional blast of late-fall air into the room, the warmth of the music was difficult to miss, as was the variety: Everything from standard string arrangements to a very large trio (I didn't count but I'd venture the trio numbered at least twice the usual number) using a upright bass as a percussion instrument and playing a combination of saw (with bow) and turkey baster.

I honestly enjoyed all of the music that was brought before the audience tonight -- consisting of a mix of ClassicalRev regulars and disappointed Browns fans -- but was most interested by the sounds of Trepanning Trio's Balanise Love Song, and the novelty of the trio of harp solos. That's right, not only my first time hearing a live harp in solo form, but this was in a bar, only feet away from me--I can only imagine the logistical hurdles in moving such a large instrument from its home, up a few stairs and in and out of the bar--and it sound was beautifully resonant. Of course the string quintet that started the evening and the string quartet that I ended the evening with were beautiful (particularly the lively dance that I entered to).

(The quintet playing when I first arrived; the harpist playing feet from me; click either for larger version)
Classical Revolution Cleveland - November 2010Classical Revolution Cleveland - November 2010

Being in a bar, I ordered a delicious Strip Steak along with a couple adult beverages; the steak was good and it was interesting to hear the din of conversation mesh with the din of music: A conversation at the other end of the bar about the Cavs; another conversation when the game was over about the Browns loss; nearby there were discussions about music.

One of the occupants of a nearby bar stool is a member of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, For those unaware of happenings outside the Cleveland bubble, let me restate that as "a member of the Detroit-Symphony-Orchestra-whos-musicians-are-currently-on-strike". I've been following the situation to the northwest with some curiosity since before the strike started*. The more I learn the less rational, logical, or even sane that orchestra's management strikes (pun not intended) me as--I'm offended by some of management's non-financial work rules proposals reported by the media, and I'm not even a stakeholder. My short conversation with this musician only bolstered my support for the musician's cause. (Cleveland's 1-day strike in January included concerns about a 5% cut in compensation for one year; Detroit is trying to push a 33%+ cash cut without full restoral**.)

So you never know what you're going to encounter at Classical Revolution -- and the variety is what makes it fun. I saw a saw played, I heard a harp mere feet from my ears

*- Though I've avoided writing anything since it's not a topic that I'm by any means qualified to write on -- I know none of that organization's history.
** - Based on the media reports I could find.

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