Sunday, December 10, 2006

A Tale of Two Gregs

On Saturday I heard my friend, Greg Bynum, play his recorder as a guest with the Brooklyn Baroque at the Morris-Jumel Mansion. The details of the concert program are below. Greg was the soloist in Boismortier’s Sonata in G Major for Recorder and Continuo. I thought his playing was particularly fine in that sonata, natural and sweet.

The soprano, Elizabeth Baber, sang the Bach and Telemann much better than the Scarlatti, to my untrained ears. Her voice was controlled and expressive, her interpretation of the Germans dramatic and persuasive. I thought, with her flowing blond hair and strong features, she looked like a Rhine Maiden. Greg’s playing in the Telemann matched her expression and intensity. I really like the Telemann piece, with its lurching rhythm in the opening lines.

Saturday night ended with another Gregg, Araki, on a very different note. Having enjoyed his well-directed "Mysterious Skin," I entertained some hopes of the earlier "Doom Generation." It was disappointing. Its hot male stars did not alleviate the tedium of its gratuitous violence: a head cut off by a machete, an arm shot off by a shotgun, a groin pierced by a sword, a penis snipped off by a pair of garden shears.

The visual analogies between sperm, sauce, blood and smoke, and the sexual tension between the teenagers, two guys and one girl, could have made for an interesting investigation, but the film is not interested in investigation. Winston nailed my impression of it: it is the work of an immature artist out to shock.

Music at Morris-Jumel, Saturday, December 9, 2006

Elizabeth Barber, soprano
Gregory Bynum, recorder
David Bakamjian, baroque cello
Rebeccca Pechefsky, harpsichord

Alessandro Scarlatti, Clori mia, Clori bella

Joseph Bodin de Boismortier, Sonata in E Minor for Cello and Continuo, Op. 50, No. 1, and Sonta in G Major for Recorder and Continuo

Johann Sebastian Bach, “Hochster, was ich habe,” from Brich dem Hungrigen dein Brot, BWV 30, and “Komm in mein Hersenshaus,” from Ein feste Burg ist unser Gott, BWV 80

Georg Philipp Telemann, Hemmet den Eifer, verbannet die Rache, Kantate am vierten, Sonntage nach dem Feste der heiligen drei Konige.

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