…a raucous, grungy, irresistibly exuberant…fun-loving, exceptionally virtuosic family.
All the performances, led by Rountree, were exceptional, the ensemble turning on an astonishing stylistic dime. This group really has come a long way — technically, intellectually, emotionally and technologically. . . . on Saturday night, the future of classical music – of all music – seemed in the right new hands.
Yet Minimalism can also be intensely personal. Julius Eastman’s “Stay On It” was played by the young L.A. ensemble wild Up. … This 1973 piece, harsh and driving and bursting into episodes of free jazz, turns out to have been radically ahead of its time. Christopher Rountree led a riveting performance.
By contrast, wild Up’s repertoire choices felt genuinely subversive, as if they were smuggled onto the program under cover of night. Julius Eastman’s presented a more inflammatory version of minimalism, with the relentless repetition of an obnoxious eight-note motive alternating with occasional improvisational and/or aleatoric freakouts. (Brian Walsh’s saxophone blaring was both a literal and figurative high note here.) Andrew McIntosh’s Silver and White poetically dealt with subtle gradations of pitch, with microtonal glissandi partially submerged under the oceanic undulations of a quiet, restrained snare drum roll.
You’d be forgiven for mistaking, wild Up a newly formed Los Angeles Chamber Orchestra, for an indie rock band.
It was thrilling to watch the force of this sound fill the small REDCAT space, and the conclusion was met with a sense of jubilation both in the audience and the face of the composer who embraced many of the players.
Christopher Rountree, wild Up’s Artistic Director conducted with infectious enthusiasm…It was magnificent.
The performances all evening were impressive both technically and for their unabashed spirit. Rountree punches out rhythms as if they were going out of style. He emphasizes outsize emotions. He could probably get an audience to dance to the slowest movement Shostakovich ever wrote.
A new music edge that refuses to soften…There was attitude. There was intonation too.
The evening was heartfelt and organic with the kind of passionate music making and energy you don’t need a marketing campaign to convince you of.
Whether or not wild Up is the future is for the future to know. But this much is certain: It works. If I ran the school district, I’d hire this collective to propagandize for classical music to every high school in the city.
Rountree has ideas but demonstrates less ideology. “We play it as long as we love it” is the wild Up motto. Better still, accomplished and accommodating instrumentalists, many finishing advanced conservatory degrees play it as though they love it. A lot.
LA’s most exciting and relevant group of young musicians… their pure energy threatened to change physical states without notice.
Searing. Penetrating. Thrilling.