Multi-Continent Performance of Braxton’s Echo Echo Mirror House Reviewed

Source: New Haven Independent.

The performance began with a bed of sounds — of voices and instruments, working in and out of phase with one another. A drum kit held down what felt like a straight-ahead swing groove. Then a guitar could be heard. A saxophone. A tuba. They worked together to create a texture that a piano climbed out of, while a violin sailed over the top. As they worked toward a kind of consonance, their conductor gave them a series of signals. Under the conductor’s direction, the ensemble moved together, creating a fluid musical line, the sound rising and falling, growing and changing. Then the conductor set it loose again, and the music continued.

The concert was a performance of “Composition 381 (Echo Echo Mirror House Music)” by New Haven-based avant-garde legend Anthony Braxton, whose works integrate structure and freedom to allow for new ways of making music. His ideas, spanning decades of musical exploration, found a place in virtual space on Monday afternoon, using technical tools developed out of necessity during the pandemic and turning their limits and complications into assets for creating art.