Colin Stetson with the Brooklyn Youth Chorus at Merkin Concert Hall, March 22, 2014
The New York Times, March 25, 2014
This one came out really, really quickly, despite some hair-splitting fact-checking that ran up to deadline hour. Once I had that lede – don't ask me where it came from; I just accepted its arrival – the rest of the review just fell into place as it needed to.
Given conversations going on among many of my more music-literate friends following Ted Gioia's recent Daily Beast article about music criticism degenerating into lifestyle reporting, arguably I could have spoken more exactly and in greater detail about the structural makings of Stetson's songs, especially as regards the choral component. But when you're faced with a tight word count, a looming deadline and a general audience, those aren't always the first things that occur to you. Should they be? That's worth thinking about. (If the notion is resonant for you, DO NOT miss this Owen Pallett analysis of Katy Perry's "Teenage Dream" on Slate.)
I do hope that Stetson will complete his wondrous arrangement of Gorecki's Symphony No. 3, and his colleagues from this concert's second half will commit the whole thing to disc. I could very easily imagine it being something that would really work on the Constellation label, for which Stetson already records – the arrangement is faithful to Gorecki, yet for me it also had an unmistakeable whiff of postrock à la Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Explosions in the Sky or Mono.