Friday, April 18, 2008

Volume Pig: A review


The St. Olaf percussion ensemble held its spring recital last night. I've written about this group before. This year, their final number was "Volume Pig," which they also did a couple years ago. It's a great piece of music with a little performance art thrown in. The composer is Gareth Farr, a New Zealander with an impressive if strange resume. Read about him here and here.

"Volume Pig" was inspired by a rare breed of feral pig found in New Zealand which is said to stun its prey with a series of very loud screams and squeals and grunts. Last night's audience was warned first by Dave Hagedorn, the St. Olaf percussion teacher (who read us some old program notes about the pig), and second by the student conductor for this piece, Levi Comstock, who took the podium and very pointedly inserted foam plugs in his ears.

My ears did not hurt, but my face muscles were sore from smiling broadly throughout the piece. The student musicians, of whom I stand in awe, were working very hard (as the piece demands) but clearly having a ball.

Man, that was fun!

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