review: dal niente - part II

[Part I is here.] It's easier to harshly criticize than to mete out praise--especially when tired.  Muhly's piece was the only one that made me angry; now that I've gotten that out of the way, I can be more delicate.  It helps to have slept a couple nights.

The stand-out winner from the evening was Shanna Gutierrez in her performance of Michel van der Aa's Rekindle (apparently not a reference to the Amazon product).  The piece was above average (7.0 / 10), with interesting sound design, sophisticated integration of live flute with prerecorded track, and a good sense of motion and flow.  And, while I generally am not impressed by show pieces, this piece had a virtuosic component (that never overtook the focus), which Gutierrez served up with grace and intensity.  The piece was successful for long stretches, inducing a mesmerization only periodically interrupted.  At the end, Gutierrez gave a smile and a little laugh, as if she felt both triumphant and relieved--an apt mixture of feelings.
[Interesting aside: Ms. Gutierrez first "met" Mr. van der Aa through Twitter, through which she both learned about the world première of Rekindle and inquired about performing the US première.  Technology rocks.]
[Stay tuned for Part III, the exciting conclusion.]

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