LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College - a criticism on a show given by the Nota Bene Cotemporary Ensemble

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Nota Bene Contemporary Ensemble

I attended a concert given by the Nota Bene Contemporary Ensemble on December 6th, 2001, in the LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College. Michael Lipsey and Hubert S. Howe Jr direct the Ensemble. This concert was different than any concert I've ever seen before. For one thing, there really isn't a conductor, except for two pieces. I guess this is because it wasn't really a whole orchestra, only a couple of instruments at a time, so they are basically their own conductors.

The concert began with a piece called "Forever and Sunsmell" by John Cage. This piece included a vocalist, a drum player and a cymbalist. It was performed in a way that kind of reminded me of a Native American chant or something of that sort. The singer was mostly singing a capella, with the instruments coming in every once in a while.

The second piece was called "Duologue" by Allen Brings.

This piece included only timpani drums and a xylophone. The piece had three movements, which didn't seem to vary in tempo, rhythm, or timbre. There was a pause in between each movement and the xylophonist would change her mallets, and the timpanist would somehow re-adjust the tones on his drums. The xylophone part was very melodious in this piece. It was beautiful to listen to and fascinating to watch. This piece was followed by an Introduction given by one of the Directors of the Ensemble. He told the audience what the ensemble was about and introduced a couple of special guests.

The next piece was "The Viola In My Life" by Morton Feldman. This piece had a conductor. It included a cello, viola, violin, flute, piano, and percussion. The tempo was extremely slow and dragged out, with literally only one or...