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From Stravinsky to Kanye

SHOW #35: Time For Three +2 at Chatauqua 7/17/12

Photo Credit: Vanessa Briceno-Scherzer

First things first, internet, I know what you’re thinking. Where’s our grainy terrible photograph? How can we tell if this is actually a 52 shows post without the worst photography on the internet? I apologize for that, the venue I saw the show at last night did not allow photography so I had to forgo it. I know, I know, you’re heartbroken. We must soldier on though.

Time for Three +2

This show was something quite different for me. I’ve stated on here before that I have a ‘music with lyrics’ bias but part of this whole 52 shows quest is expanding my horizons and what better way to dip your toes in the classical pool than with a trio of strings that deftly and beautifully mixes the old with the new? Also, it should be noted that I’ve labeled these guys as classical but really that definition doesn’t encompass what they do or who they are. Actually it’s quite possible that you wouldn’t be able to cram these three solidly into any single traditional musical category.

Time for Three consists of an upright bass and two violins. Attached to these instruments (figuratively not literally) are lively entertaining performers who do things with music old and new that will simply blow you away. They run the gamut of music intertwining classical pieces with modern ones and ending up with something wholly unique and all their own. They also play original compositions that are just as good as the ones you are familiar with.

Their +2, which makes it sound like they’re attending a wedding, is a pianist and a drummer who joins the trio intermittently throughout the show. The sound changes interestingly when the +2 is on the stage things become fuller, the beat is a little more apparent and a little more urgent and the focus flows from instrument to instrument in an incredible ballet of controlled chaos and improvisation.

Both iterations of the band, with the +2 and without, are exceptional in their own way and I’m glad that they intermingled throughout the show because I think that added sound of the +2 is great in some circumstances but in others you really only need the simple beauty of the three strings.

Technically perfect, achingly beautiful, moving, transcendent. I’m certain that all of these words have been used to describe their music before. All of them are appropriate. I wish I had a more trained ear, an ear better able to recognize all that they were doing but I don’t. For someone like me it’s always best to hear something you are familiar with to be able to fully grasp the talent of the performers. For me that moment was when they playedLittle Lion Manby Mumford and Sons. You could hear the song as it originally was in their arrangement but there were so many little touches and extra layers of sound that I was awed. At that moment I truly understood what I was seeing before me and the rest of the show blew wide open. I’m glad that they played it so early.

After the intermission they played for us their first music video which they created via a Kickstarter campaign. The song is Stronger by Kanye West and Daft Punk and their version of it is great. The video itself is interesting because it’s a music video with a message. They wanted to make a video that wasn’t about them, a video that would look at something bigger so they decided to address the issue of bullying. The video is very well done, though I won’t put it here because I like to focus on live performances. If you click here you can watch it on their website. Much as I liked the video I was a little disappointed that we didn’t get to hear a liver version ofStronger.

If you like music, any music at all, thou should see Time For Three, they’ll play something you like and they’ll open your ears to a million other possibilities. You’ll also be witness to three (occasionally five) people who absolutely love what they are doing and who tell you that in every move and every note. It’s a wonderful experience. So see them. I implore you. See them.

I’ll leave you with two songs by them you’re probably familiar with.

Stronger:

And Hallelujah:

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