Emerald City Music wraps up its successful second season with a last look at Leonard Bernstein in his centennial year, alongside the work of two composers who influenced him, Beethoven and Richard Strauss. The major work on the program is Strauss’ great “Metamorphosen” in its original scoring for seven instruments. In it, Strauss pours his heart out in reaction to the wartime destruction of Germany’s heritage and culture. It’s angry, poignant, intense and beautiful. Also on the program are Bernstein’s “On Beethoven,“ Beethoven’s “Eyeglass” Duo, so called as both protagonists it was written for wore glasses, and his Viola Quintet in C Major.
One of opera’s biggest spectacles, Verdi’s Aida, gets a new-to-Seattle production at Seattle Opera, originally directed by the imaginative Francesca Zambello, with E. Loren Meeker making her stage directing debut here. The production also features Jessica Lang’s cutting-edge choreography, RETNA’s Egyptian hieroglyphic-inspired décor and who knows what by way of animals in the triumphal march. (Sometimes supernumeraries follow to shovel up what the animals may have left behind.) It’s a love story in a triangle between a prisoner of war, a military commander and an imperious princess, with stirring music, splendid choruses and arias, and all of it on a larger-than-life scale.
Courtney Marie Andrews
Courtney Marie Andrews is on her way to real-deal star status. Ever well-traveled, the Arizona-born, road-tested singer-songwriter-guitarist left Seattle, where she’d spent the last five or so years and recorded her breakout album, for bigger pastures in LA. In March she released May Your Kindness Remain on Fat Possum Records to major critical fawning. It finds Andrews coming further into her own as a lyricist and vocalist, penning world-weary poetry and setting it aloft with a voice that transmits hopeful desperation and skeptical sincerity all at once.
Georgetown Orbits album release
Weathering the destructive forces of time, trend and late-stage capitalism, Seattle’s venerable ska-music flagship, Georgetown Orbits, has been kicking out the jams since 2004. Longevity has its privileges: The Orbits recorded their fourth album with more than $7,000 in Kickstarter-generated fan support, which means at tonight’s release show for Solar Flares will be available on vinyl—appropriate given the six-piece band’s embrace of Jamaican rocksteady and ska, those upbeat, infectious vintage styles aimed straight at the dance floor.
You wouldn’t know unless you know, but Mount Kimbie’s third album, Love What Survives, was quietly and certainly one of last year’s best. With it the London-based production duo advanced their brainy, post-dubstep template to include Broadcast-like scuzz-pop, haunted James Blakeian soul (courtesy of guest vocalist James Blake himself), classy cocktail-lounge piano, Casiotone krautrock and—no joke—jazz fusion. It’s subtle, mesmerizing meta-music, as if Mount Kimbie compressed several eras, bands and albums into one orchestrated, evocative statement.
May 17, 18
Welcome home, La Luz! Sure, your mailing address is some sunny apartment in the Highland Park neighborhood of Los Angeles, but your roots will always be here in Seattle. Of course your profile expanded once you found a new audience and courted new media coverage; savvy move on your part. But what seals the deal and pegs you as genuine rockstars is your music, specifically the music on your upcoming third album, Floating Features, which takes in the whole West Coast expanse, from PNW gloom to SoCal glam and all the I-5 anxiety in between. Thursday’s show is 21+, Friday’s is all-ages.
Crocodile, The Vera Project
In 2018, cheeky, assertive, melody-rich garage rock sounds far more vital when delivered from a female point of view. Hinds’ second album, I Don’t Run, radiates frothy, whip-smart insouciance, with distorted, group-sung vocals, slashing guitars and smart, precise songwriting. In a perfect world, these women would assume the same arch-icon status as their testosteronic counterparts. Their second major tour is a good start.