Charles T. Downey, Kathleen Supové’s ‘Exploding Piano’ recital at Atlas gets lost in the clutter
Washington Post, February 9, 2012
K. Supové, Exploding the Piano (2010)
The ’80s retrospective that began with Madonna’s Super Bowl performance as a cheerleading Cleopatra dancing for world peace continued Tuesday night with one of Kathleen Supové’s “Exploding Piano” recitals as part of the new new-music series at the Atlas Performing Arts Center.Kathleen Supové, piano
For three decades, Supové has sought to detonate the conventions of the piano’s repertory and presentation. The meager crowd did not offer any evidence that cluttering the experience with video projections, audio tracks or the sexagenarian Supové’s Madonna-like concert dress did anything to attract a larger audience.
Missy Mazzoli’s “Isabelle Eberhardt Dreams of Pianos,” from 2007, was as good as it got, with snatches of a Schubert piano sonata invading the chaotic texture of both recorded track and live piano. Here and in most of the pieces the recorded track conveniently covered the insecure technique of Supové’s hands, as in the interminable toccata “The Same Sky,” composed by Carolyn Yarnell in 2000. More like the same arpeggio figuration, over and over, with the recorded track noodling alone at one point as Supové removed a ring from her finger mid-performance. [Continue reading]
The Exploding Piano
Atlas Performing Arts Center
The form of this recital has been slightly altered from the recording she made under the same title, but Supové has been whipping this horse for a couple decades (see Bernard Holland's review of a similar recital, from 1990, in the New York Times). Not much has changed about these performances, noted in a profile in the Wall Street Journal. See also the review of another recital by Rick Schultz (Kathleen Supove in Piano Spheres recital at Zipper, February 1) for the Los Angeles Times.