Reading the tea leaves of the Santa Fe Symphony concert allowed no ambiguity; it pledged allegiance to absolute traditionalism in concert format and repertoire.
That, in any case, is how I experienced it from my seat at the very rear of the auditorium. During intermission, I moved to a place farther to the front, and the acoustic was less boomy. From there, one could hear both the “live voices” and the “electronic voices,” with the latter not being entirely overpowering. From this perspective I enjoyed Caleb Burhans’ (inspired by an episode of the television show
a pleasant movement employing a good deal of throat-singing (of the Tuvan tradition, I think), and
a lovely, contemplative piece by on-the-rise jazz trumpeter Ambrose Akinmusire (not a jazz composition, though). The concert concluded with by the group’s director, Brad Wells, who wrote that it “features Sardinian cantu a tenore-inspired singing, belting, and some yodeling all in a melange to highlight a baritone in full bel canto glory.” It delivered on its promise. Wells’ note also provided the helpful information that “the title comes from one of my favorite Jane Kenyon poems but uses no text, only non-sense syllables as lyrics.” I don’t know if he had to pay royalties to her estate.