ARKANSAS SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA: MAHLER’S ‘SYMPHONY NO. 5’ SATURDAY 5/4, 7:30 P.M.; SUNDAY 5/5, 3 P.M. ROBINSON PERFORMANCE HALL. $16-$68.
This is the big one. Mahler’s Fifth not only contains the composer’s most famous passage, but marks a sharp shift for the late-Romantic conductor — one from the world of song and folk melody to pathos and cinematic drama. Never one content to orchestrate a singular emotion or experience, Mahler, with "Symphony No. 5," scrambles to capture the entirety of the human condition, starting with a single trumpet voice for a funeral march in that most treacherous of key signatures — C-sharp minor — and exploding into a colossal tempest. In an interview with NPR’s “Weekend Edition,” powerhouse conductor Marin Alsop says of conducting the piece: “It’s almost like being sucked into a vortex. It’s a trancelike experience.” So, too, I imagine it will be for audiences, one of Arkansas Symphony Orchestra’s last under Maestro Philip Mann’s baton. Fitting it is, too, that one of Mann’s longtime collaborators, Michael Fine, adds his voice to this concert, premiering his “Concerto for Oboe Section” with ASO oboists Leanna Renfro, Lorraine Duso Kitts and Beth Wheeler in the spotlight. SS
MONDAY 5/13. 7:30 P.M. THE JOINT THEATER & COFFEEHOUSE. $30. In case you missed it, seven-string guru Ted Ludwig is curating a new jazz series at what may very well be the best listening room in town: The Joint in historic downtown Argenta. David Gilmore’s widely considered a risk-taker and a chameleon in the jazz world, ever at the service of the song, whether he’s trading licks with Wayne Shorter (Art Blakey’s Jazz Messengers, Weather Report) or backing revered contraltos like Cassandra Wilson or Mavis Staples. Gilmore’s solo work mingles musical philosophies; he's just as likely to base a rhythm on an Indian raga as on the Pythagorean theorem. So when your search engine brings up a list of Pink Floyd tunes and asks you “Did you mean David Gilmour?” give it a “No, I did not, thankyouverymuch,” and dig into this Massachusetts native’s motley catalog. Tickets are available at jazzatthejoint. org. SS
ADVENTURELAND, COUCH JACKETS
THURSDAY 5/9. 9 P.M. WHITE WATER TAVERN. BRIAN CHILSON
DOUBLE BILL: Affable hooks and infectious physicality prevail at the White Water Tavern May 9 with sets from Adventureland (above) and Couch Jackets (below).
Enough comparisons are made between these two particular bands already; it’s only natural they should share a bill. The pairing isn’t so much about the fact that they sound alike, either. They don’t — save, perhaps, for a shared affinity toward multiple intra-song time signature changes. It’s that the two groups are, to borrow a term from Adventureland’s self-description, similarly “good-natured.” Adventureland, with its affable game of musical chairs and effortless synchronicity, operates here as the sugar to Couch Jackets’ strange brew, one that surprises the ear as much as it does the eye, thanks to an abundance of collective energy and physicality. Bera Bera shares the bill. SS
MAY 2019 21
New Look for Pettaway KOKY KEEPS SPEAKING | DRIVING THE TALIMENA BYWAY | BIG IDEAS 2019