"And then all hell – or at least tonality – broke lose during the last two movements, during which Greif brought her blazingly expressive singing to the two heart-wrenching poems anchoring them. Bold and insightful, the performance strongly emphasized the intrinsic beauty and the emotional resonance of the game-changing quartet."
"The last work on the program was Franz Schubert's animated song "Erlkönig". Based on a famous poem by Goethe, which was itself inspired by a Scandinavian folktale, this four-minute ballad shows an inordinate sense of drama and impressive compositional sophistication from the 18-year-old youngster that Schubert was at the time. The sharply defined four characters gave Greif a priceless opportunity to display her remarkable gift for spellbinding narrative and on-the-spot shifts in rhythmical nuances."
"If this concert had one other star is was soprano Ariadne Greif. The vocal works here were more suitable constellations around Mr. Schoenberg. But the selections were, with few exceptions echt-Romantic, music which was pulling at the yokes of the diatonic scale, sometimes breaking through, but always retaining its passion.…
And she was the soprano to essay each one. Coming near to the hysteria of the poems, but always, always keeping hold of her stunning voice.…
Ms. Greif was not afraid to pull out the Romantic steps from Mr. Korngold, a Schoenberg student whose own genius was in opera and film. Nor did she hold back in the first version of Alban Berg’s Close Both My Eyes.…
Even the songs of Webern became dramatically intense, as sung by Mr. Greif, with pianist Conor Hanick. One thought of dodecaphonic tone-rows as bagatelles, little jewels which were held up somehow on their delicate strings.…
The last two movements were highlighted again by Ms. Greif. Her voice here was not ethereal. It was searing, throaty and sometimes with striking emotion.
Whatever the title “Air Schoenberg” might have meant, she helped it soar on wings of song, while the others of International Street Cannibals brought the mesmerized audience the extremes of fire, ice and frequently even warmth."
Music history doesn’t have many neat watershed moments, but a pivotal work in the career of Schoenberg — and the development of Western music — was his String Quartet No. 2 (Op. 10), written when he was shaken by personal trauma. The enterprising new-music ensemble International Street Cannibals takes this quartet as fodder for an evening that explores the currents of influence that seem to intersect in this work.
Under the title “Air Schoenberg: Connecting Flights,” the concert, on Wednesday, March 22, includes music by Brahms, Zemlinsky, Korngold and Berg. Among the performers are the brilliant pianist Conor Hanick and the soprano Ariadne Greif, an artist known for her fearless performances of raw emotionality. Together they traverse art songs spanning Schubert and Schnittke. (St. Mark’s Church in-the-Bowery; streetcannibals.com.)
"The singing deserved the audience’s full attention. Ariadne Greif, as haughty Adina, has tonally pleasing high notes and a delightful sparkling quality to both her singing and acting."
"Opposite these men was Ariadne Greif as the sassy Adina. Greif's voice soars and trills though arias. She tells the story through all of her body language. In fact all of the lead performers fit their roles well."
“The singing was splendid and the piece is musically brilliant...Soprano Greif, praised by the New York Times for her “luminous, expressive voice,” drew on a wide range of emotions to brilliantly capture the bothersome mother and the not-too menacing witch."
Thank you, Penny Schwartz!
"Soprano Ariadne Greif followed this with the evening’s most compelling vocal performance in “From Sleepless Nights;” despite being an oddly-placed emotional beat, the piece for soprano and cello was a sophisticated showcase of intervallic vocal control. Grief’s mid-range gravity convinced the audience that “this is what I have decided to do with my life,” and Caleigh Drane on cello wove in and out of solo and support, mixing Baroque ornaments with modern dexterity as she played legato and pizzicato simultaneously."
-Lana Norris, I CARE IF YOU LISTEN. Daniel Felsenfeld retrospective concert with Nouveau Classical Project.
A feature article about Metropolis Ensemble's Brownstone in the Wall Street Journal.
What would a house sound like if it could sing?
"Brownstone" is a site-specific, 360 degree concert like no other, featuring three electro-acoustic works where audience members leave their chairs behind to choose their own unique experience of each piece.
Each work involves musicians and electronic elements placed throughout the architecture of a gloriously restored, turn-of-the-century mansion facing the Metropolitan Museum, unified by each composer's exploration of electro-acoustic composition coupled with experiments in audience perspective, control, and acoustic/architectural space. There will be no gaps between pieces, creating a magical "concert-installation."
JAKUB CIUPINSKI: BROWNSTONE (2010)
Musicians will be scattered throughout all floors while audience members freely wander and explore. An electronic soundscape will fill halls and stairways, creating a rhythmic and colorful sonic tapestry that blends with the various instruments differently depending on your location. For 10 musicians and electronics.
CHRIS CERRONE: MEMORY PALACE (2012)
The title refers to an ancient technique of memorization that helped orators remember very long speeches by placing mental signposts in an imaginary location and 'walking' through it. Here, composer Chris Cerrone tasks the solo percussionist (Ian Rosenbaum) to construct each room's 'instrument' based a simple set of instructions. Electronic sounds are triggered and sampled live.
RICARDO ROMANEIRO: COARSE AIR (2015 WORLD PREMIERE)
A new work for soprano Ariadne Greif backed by chamber ensemble, solo percussion, and electronics in quadrophonic sound, based on texts from poet Chris Cahill and building on the instrumentations found in Brownstone and Memory Palace.
Friday, January 23 (9pm)
Tickets: $50 (includes wine and post-concert reception with champagne service, dessert, and live music by Noision and Leo Leite)
Monday, January 26 (8pm)
Tickets (includes wine reception)
Metropolis Members: $20
Limited seating! Reserve your ticket today!