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March 2, 2009

'Chance Encounter' — Lisa Bielawa and Susan Narucki

"Lisa Bielawa's 'Chance Encounter,' a captivating half-hour piece for singer and ensemble, is made to be heard in a public place, with the musicians arriving at different times and moving about as they perform. Bielawa and the soprano Susan Narucki created the text by transcribing remarks they'd overheard in transient spaces and culling them into a mini-drama of nostalgia ('Where are all the things that I remember?'), conflict ('Do you solve everything by crying?'), existential dread ('Nothing has happened, nothing will happen'), and the eternal search ('We need to know where the party is'). The concept is playful, yet the formal sophistication and lyrical richness of Bielawa's music go deep. A recent performance, with Narucki and the Knights ensemble, took place on two levels of the Whitney Museum. At the end, Narucki sang the phrase, 'I found a place where we can sit together,' while walking through the gift shop toward the exit. She tenderly repeated the word 'together' but by then she was the only one making sound." — Alex Ross, in the March 2, 2009 issue of the New Yorker.

March 2, 2009 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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