M. Lamar (left) and The Living Earth Show musicians Travis Andrews and Andy Meyerson (right), courtesy of Old First Concerts
Regular readers probably know that, from time to time, performances presented by Old First Concerts (O1C) will show up in the weekly “Bleeding Edge” preview articles. This is usually due to pieces of new music that will be included on the program. However, later this month there will be a break from the sort of programming one tends to expect from this series; and it is worth singling out this event with a bit more advance notice.
The program will be the world premiere of an evening-length song cycle. The departure from the usual begins with the composition’s title: Lordship and Bondage: The Birth of the Negro Superman. Both music and words were composed by M. Lamar, a “goth-postpunk-diva” (as KQED has chosen to describe him), who will perform as both countertenor and piano. He will be joined by The Living Earth Show, the duo of guitarist Travis Andrews and percussionist Andy Meyerson. The piece was created on a commission by The Living Earth Show.
The Living Earth Show has cultivated an impressive reputation of departing from any of the “usual suspects” expectations, whether they are presenting electro-acoustic chamber music or contributing to full-evening theatre works. Lamar’s advance material describes the sources for (or at least behind) the libretto of Lordship and Bondage as being Georg Wilhelm Friedrich Hegel, Friedrich Nietzsche, and Sun Ra. As I discovered through my listening experiences while writing for Examiner.com, Nietzsche was, himself, a composer; and he is known for having had a particularly provocative relationship with the music of Richard Wagner. Anyone with an imagination keen enough to conceive of Nietzsche attending a Sun Ra concert might also come up with some plausible expectations for just what Lamar will deliver in his song cycle.
(Hegel was, of course, a contemporary of Ludwig van Beethoven. However, according to Malcolm Knox, who edited the publication of Hegel’s lectures on aesthetics, the philosopher did not like Beethoven’s music very much, preferring, instead, the works of Gioachino Rossini. That’s enough said about Hegel!)
This departure from the conventions of performance will also depart from the usual conventions of O1C presentation. The performance will begin at 10 p.m., rather than the usual time of 8 p.m. It will take place on Friday, April 20. As usual, the venue will be the Old First Presbyterian Church, located at 1751 Sacramento Street on the southeast corner of Van Ness Avenue.
If purchased in advance online from an O1C event page, general admission will be $23 with a discounted rate of $18 for seniors aged 65 or older. Tickets for full-time students showing valid identification will be $5; and children aged twelve and under will be admitted for free. There is also a discount available for those parking at the Old First Parking Garage at 1725 Sacramento Street, just up the street from the church; but it will probably be worth enquiring whether or not the garage will be open when the performance has concluded.