Chatham's epic 'Rose' goes beyond punk minimalism
by Joshua Kosman
Composer Rhys Chatham's mammoth 2006 work "A Secret Rose," which had its West Coast premiere (and third performance ever) in an exhilarating concert Sunday night at the Craneway Pavilion in Richmond, could be summarized as a mashup of punk rock and classic minimalism. Sunday's concert was presented by Other Minds.
"A Secret Rose" is written for an ensemble of 100 electric guitars, arranged into six smaller groups, with a rhythm section of bass and drums to provide support. The piece, which runs about 75 minutes, is in five long and varied movements, ranging from solid walls of one-chord sound to delicately pointillist tapestries.
Sunday's concert, presented by Other Minds, was also a virtuoso exercise in sheer organizational logistics. The guitarists, who came from throughout the Bay Area and as far away as Montreal, Italy and the United Kingdom, turned themselves into a first-rate pickup band, with tiers upon tiers of musicians delivering with something close to marching-band precision.
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