What did you say? May 12, 2011

by Charles Smith

Language has always expressed more through it's connection to music than its current (almost exclusive) literal function. The force with which something is said, what is accented, the tempo...these give more visceral clues to what humans mean when we try to communicate with each other than the words themselves. El Gallo presents us with an audition, a rehearsal process, and a performance of a fictional opera in a completely made up language. If you've ever lived through the creation process or ever wondered how a performance is created, you will find much that is absolutely dead on and hysterically funny. The performers are able to express so much more with their unconventionally human sounds than you usually hear with "serious music's" conventionally pretty tradition.

I feel like I'm babbling here. Maybe I shouldn't have tried to write something so literal about a piece that defies being literal. So how about this: This show is really freaking funny and the music's great. And it's got a live string octet! Who has one of those?