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Nota Bene Contemporary Ensemble I attended a concert given by the Nota Bene Contemporary Ensemble on December 6th 2001 in the LeFrak Concert Hall at Queens College Michael Lipsey and Hubert S Howe Jr direct the Ensemble This concert was different than any concert Ive ever seen before For one thing there really isnt a conductor except for two pieces I guess this is because it wasnt really a whole orchestra only a couple of instruments at a time so they are basically their own conductors The concert began with a piece called Forever and Sunsmell by John Cage This piece included a vocalist a drum player and a cymbalist It was performed in a way that kind of reminded me of a Native American chant or something of that sort The singer was mostly singing a capella with the instruments coming in every once in a while The second piece was called Duologue by Allen Brings This piece included only timpani drums and a xylophone The piece had three movements which didnt seem to vary in tempo rhythm or timbre There was a pause in between each movement and the xylophonist would change her mallets and the timpanist would somehow re-adjust the tones on his drums The xylophone part was very melodious in this piece It was beautiful to listen to and fascinating to watch This piece was followed by an Introduction given by one of the Directors of the Ensemble He told the audience what the ensemble was about and introduced a couple of special guests The next piece was The Viola In My Life by Morton Feldman This piece had a conductor It included a cello viola violin flute piano and percussion The tempo was extremely slow and dragged out with literally only one or two held-out notes every 10 or 20 seconds or maybe an even longer interval in between This piece did not interest me at all In fact
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