Four and a half stars
Butler University; Lilly Hall Room 120; Oct. 3
Ensemble 48 is the first student-led new music group created at Butler, and any group following them has much to live up to. On Friday night this group of eight excellent musicians improvised music to Dziga Vertov’s silent film from 1929, Man with a Movie Camera, a film that followed people around in industrial work and other areas of life. While some people might think improvisation seems easy — after all, you can think up whatever you like! — it is anything but if it is to be done well. This group listens to each other as intensely, if not more, than sections of a full orchestra listen to each other. An idea would be brought forth during a scene, and was soon well elaborated and expounded upon by the other musicians. Transitions to new ideas sounded seamless and natural, testifying to the ensemble’s well-developed ears and minds, both collectively as a group, and individually as musicians. Rumor has it that they will be breaking up at the end of the year as people graduate. New music needs ambassadors such as Ensemble 48, and I hope they are able to find a way to keep this group alive and well.