MATA Festival Review

Newspeak rounded out the 10th (!!!) MATA Festival on Friday night. Kudos to Missy Mazzoli and Chris McIntyre, new directors, in what seemed like a flawlessly executed festival. I’m really looking forward to seeing what they have in store for the future. I’ve performed at the Brooklyn Lyceum before. As a performance space, it just made sense with this repertoire, and it was packed, and I have to say as a Brooklynite, it was sweet going three stops home!!

I had a total blast performing David T. Little’s “Sweet Light Crude” a song “about loving something you know is really bad for you”…. we can all relate to that, can’t we??? I think out of all the vocal Newspeak music I’ve done, this may be the best text setting I’ve come across. Composers take note!!! When the text setting is well thought out, it just feels good in the mouth, the singer will want to linger on the consonants. That’s the key to lieder, you just want to taste the words… it’s also why hearing Winterreise in English is just tragic.

I digress, There’s a great festival review on Feast of Music. and there’s a pic of me rocking out towards the bottom!! Here’s some Newspeak highlights:

It’s not every day that you see a composer leading his work from the drumkit, but that’s exactly what Little did for his sweet light crude (2007). Set to his own gothic poem relating a lover’s desperate pleas, Little built a soundscape of searing intensity, mixing techniques familiar from both rock ballads and new music. Vocalist Melissa Hughes delivered an intense performance, ripping through the poem with a voice that was both haunting and beautiful. Unlike so many of today’s academic composers, Little writes from the gut. He is someone to watch.
Newspeak ended their set with Oscar Bettison’s Breaking and Entering (with aggravated assault). Holy crazy ass shit: talk about loud and aggressive. It was balls out, the kind of thing I’d expect to hear at some of the better experimental rock venues in town. I don’t know if people were screaming for the exits or not: I was too busy rocking out in my chair to care.

I’ll take haunting and beautiful…..and hell-total-ass-shit-crazy-yeah! Every time I hear the Bettison I just want to bang on something!!! Which is kind of embarrassing seeing as there’s no vocal part in it…….

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