Concerto for Piano and Orchestra (2014) by Ben Folds
Video backdrop featuring the Nashville Ballet
Choreographer: Paul Vasterling
Dancers: Kayla Rowser, Mollie Sansone, Jon Upleger
Lighting designer: Scott Leathers
Cinematographer: Allan Amato
Editor: Olga Nunes
Directed by Emma Sandall
On December 4th, Ben Folds performed with the National Symphony Orchestra to kick off The Kennedy Center's Declassified concert series. Check out an excerpt above, via YouTube.
The above clip comes from the energetic, third movement of his "Concerto For Piano and Orchestra." It is an exciting, if not scatterbrained composition fueled by Folds' vigorous technical playing combined with the massive forces of the NSO. There are a great deal of strong musical ideas, but the movement ultimately lacks a sense of real development. Some of the ideas come across as gimmicky, such as the inside the piano hits. What followed, however, was a really cool idea where he mutes the strings inside while playing arpeggios on the keys of the piano. So it could be argued that the earlier "gimmick" was used as a transitory gesture to get into position for getting inside the piano, hence the throwing-back-the-tie theatrics.
The concert was an attempt to mix the best of pop and classical realms through an "innovate mix of classic and modern sounds," but Anne Midgette of the Washington Post exclaimed the concert offered neither. The concert did offer a background projection of dancers from the Nashville Ballet choreographed by Paul Vasterling that helped to enhance the mood during more romantic parts of the movement.
The Kennedy Center will host more Declassified concerts coming up, featuring The B-Sides with Mason Bates & Anne Akiko Meyers on April 9th, 2016, followed by Cabaret of Sins with Storm Large & Hudson Shad on April 29th.
You can hear the full 3-movement concerto played with the Nashville Symphony Orchestra on Fold's 2015 album, So There, now available on Amazon (Vinyl, CD, MP3). You can also read our review right here on Zumic.
You can also watch the National Symphony Orchestra's performance with Kendrick Lamar here on Zumic.
For more Ben Folds music, news, and tour dates, be sure to check out his Zumic artist page.
Source: The Kennedy Center YouTube