Last night, I went to the Second Inversion’s presentation of Gabriel Kahane and Brooklyn Rider in concert. It was a stunning display of boundless creativity, artistic commitment, freedom and virtuosity that was deeply inspiring. Kahane’s singular melodic style is captivating, always taking unexpected turns, colored by sophisticated and beautiful harmonies. Just when you think that you have grasped his musical intentions, he takes you to a whole different sonic universe. In the end, you feel that you have been on a fantastic journey with a purpose that reveals itself once you’ve arrived. His voice is always soulful and completely committed to the true meaning of each word. I don’t use the word lightly but those were the creations of a natural and honest musical genius. His sense of pitch was astounding and “Ambassador Hotel” is a perfect song in my book.
Brooklyn Rider, with Johnny Gandelsman and Colin Jacobsen on violin, Nicholas Cords on viola and Eric Jacobsen on cello, was a wonder of refinement, precision, with a huge expressive range and more colors than I have ever heard from a string quartet. The quality and care of each attack, the complete mastery of the many “sound-effects,” the vibrato matching, the rhythmic drive and transcendence of the bar lines, the intelligence of the rubato were all in full display. It was obvious that their understanding of Kahane’s compositions was very personal, like the expression of a deep friendship. The drama and poetry in Schubert’s “Rosamunde” quartet provided a delightful anachronism but it’s in Kahane’s own Quartet that Brooklyn Rider displayed the full range of its musical might. The symbiosis between Kahane’s relentless creative assault and the quartet’s sheer virtuosity and passion was a wonder to behold and the highlight of the concert. The Tractor Tavern was packed with many young and fewer old, and a great assortment of personalities from professional colleagues to fans. It was exactly the sort of musical evening that we need a lot more of and a tribute to Second Inversion’s leading role and impact. It was one of those rare treats when great art unfolds before us as the unapologetic and intelligent reflection of our time.
Stay tuned for a couple of in-studio videos of music by Gabriel Kahane, filmed yesterday afternoon in our studios!