Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Numinous Music

Joseph C. Phillips conducted the Numinous+ ensemble performing his extended composition Vipassana last night at Makor. The composition title and ensemble name testify to Phillips’ interest in Eastern spirituality. Drawing inspiration from sources as varied as Joseph Campbell, Steve Reich, Bj√∂rk, the photography of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, the poetry of Denise Levertov, linguistics, anthropology, and archaeology, Vipassana is a deeply thought out undertaking. It has long, compelling trance-like passages that defy easy classification. It is a work that really calls for repeated listening, which will eventually be possible, as Numinous+ will be recording it shortly.

The ensemble performances were outstanding. There were excellent solo features for Dave Smith on trumpet and Ben Kono on soprano. There was also a section of wonderful interplay between pianist Deanna Witklowski (playing on her birthday, no less) and Tom Beckham on vibes. Vipassana is an ambitious, but accessible composition. Just recording the large ensemble will be something else, but it is nice to know the music will be documented.