It was a year in which the personal shone through in dance and classical works small and large
By Robert Faires
Friday, January 2, 2015
1) MOZART REQUIEM UNDEAD (Golden Hornet Project/Texas Choral Consort/Texas Performing Arts/Fusebox Festival) An overflow crowd at the French Legation witnessed Wolfgang Amadeus’ final work given spectacular new life by 33 musicians and 150 voices fusing Mozart with music by 10 contemporary composers. As wildly diverse as the pieces were – here ominous, there glorious, jazzy, rocking, discordant, delicate – they all seemed in dialogue with Mozart and with one another. An epic undertaking executed with style and verve – an Austin miracle.
2) THERE, THE MAGNIFICENT (Kathy Dunn Hamrick Dance Company) This dance’s celebration of small virtues and little kindnesses added up to a bigness of heart, inspiring with images of companionship and support.
3) A MASKED BALL (Austin Opera) Verdi’s name was on the bill, but it could have been Hitchcock’s, as this modern-dress staging was rife with tension and arresting visuals from projection wizard Wendall Harrington.
4) “ANGEL OF MY NATURE” (Ballet Austin) Stephen Mills’ ballet was as moving in revival as in its 2010 premiere, its compelling pairings driven by Michelle Schumann’s expressive readings of Bach and Glass.
5) HAYDN: THE CREATION (Texas Choral Consort) Brent Baldwin and his choir infused Haydn’s masterwork with so deeply personal an appreciation of life’s grand diversity that one’s own wonder at the world was renewed.
6) SOUL/SOLE CONNECTIONS (Tapestry Dance Company) Tapestry’s new dancers got up close and personal, performing solos drawn from their lives that were not only terrifically engaging but let us see their wonderful footwork as expressions of who they are.
7) PATH OF MIRACLES (Conspirare) Craig Hella Johnson gave listeners another chance to make this spiritual pilgrimage through Joby Talbot’s score, and I’m grateful as the journey proved uncommonly rich in reverence and joy.
8) LINE UPON LINE PERCUSSION CANOPY SERIES Even without the free beer and Easy Tiger pretzels, these intimate concerts would be a don’t-miss delight. The rhythmic explorations and world-class musicmaking never fail to get my pulse pounding.
9) LA LUNE (Austin Chamber Music Center) The magic made by pianist Michelle Schumann, cellist Amy Levine-Tsang, and violinist Sandy Yamamoto had moonlight shining through the church roof – most dazzlingly as Yamamoto played Franck’s Sonata in A Major.
10) TOSCA (Austin Lyric Opera) So mighty was the music made by Maestro Richard Buckley, his orchestra, and the singers in this staging of Puccini’s opera that it sounded like heaven and hell were at war with each other.