Friday, May 25, 2012

La Koro Sutro at the Berkeley Art Museum Tonight

Years ago I bought a CD of music by Lou Harrison out of a bargain bin at the great Boo Boo Records in San Luis Obispo, and the 1972 La Koro Sutro for 100 voice chorus, American Gamelan, harp and organ quickly became one of my favorite pieces of music. Even though the forces are massive, the work is delicate and dreamy, and is sounding better with each passing year.

The text is taken from a Buddhist sutra, which was then translated into Esperanto, the invented language from the late 19th century which was created to foster world peace. In other words, it doesn't get any more California coastal multicultural gay hippie pacifist than La Koro Sutro, and there's nothing quite like it.

The problem is actually getting to hear a live performance, and once again pianist Sarah Cahill above is coming to the rescue with a Lou Harrison concert featuring La Koro Sutro tonight at the Berkeley Art Museum. Doors open at 5, concert starts at 7:30, and admission is only $7. The fact that I am going to miss this concert because of a last-minute rehearsal scheduled at the San Francisco Opera is depressing, but if you have a chance to catch it yourself, please do. The evening promises to be legendary. (Click here for a nice preview by Jason Serinus at SF Classical Voice.)


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