Time Turns Elastic for Trey Anastasio
On Saturday, Trey Anastasio debuted Time Turns Elastic, his latest orchestral piece, at Nashville, TNs historic Ryman Auditorium. The night opened with Orchestra Nashville taking the stage for a version of composer Mark Scearces XL. Dressed in a purple sports jacket, Anastasio then emerged to play electric guitar with the orchestra on the Phish classic Divided Sky. As he mentions in a recent site interview, composer Don Hart originally helped Anastasio work on an orchestra arrangement of the tune for an October, 2006 performance at New Yorks Webster Hall. There was a stretch towards the end where he did more lead stuff and took a little break from the strings and came back to it, Hart says of his Divided Sky arrangement. The guitar at that point was more the rhythmic drive. Then we had to replace that rhythmic drive when he was playing lead stuff with the strings having that energy so it was a fun arrangement to get into.
Next up, Anastasio switched to acoustic guitar to augment Orchestra Nashville on Harts newest composition, Concertino. Soon after, the Orchestra Nashville closed the first part of the evening with two additional classical pieces: Orient and Occident and Le Tombeau de Couperin.
After a short intermission, Anastasio and Orchestra Nashville returned for the debut performance of Time Turns Elastic. The roughly thirty-minute piece was composed by Anastasio and Hart over the last year and features several different sections, divided into two different movements: Movement one consists of Magnets and Revolutions and Ruby Shaded Sea, while movement two features Submarine, In Long Lines, Violet, Violet, Summer Sound Shower, Splinters of Hail, Funnels and Carousel. Unlike many of his orchestral collaborations, Anastasio played electric guitar throughout.
To the surprise of many, Time Turns Elastic also features a vocal section driven by Anastasio latest set of lyrics. As the works title suggests, the piece deals with the central themes of time and change, including the choice lines, watch while the ripples decay/In this rolling time/And cascading, the winds set/The wheels in motion/And it’s turning in the mist/Around me/Rolling and turning in the mist around me.
We talked about this piece as sort of being a Disney ride. From a compositional standpoint it will be a lot of different things, Hart says. The analogy being a Disney ride where you dont know whats going to come around the corner next, it just takes you through all these unexpected places and stuff. And I feel like thats basically going to come off to large degree, its going to be a lot of fun. There’s one section where we got into a tango thing and all sorts of little nuggets of things and theyre all based around the stuff he sent me. Theres also a short section thats a fugue on one of his ideas, to help propel the piece at one point.
At the end of the night, Anastasio and Orchestra Nashville returned for a vocal-driven version of Let Me Lie that featured the former Phish frontman on both acoustic and electric guitar. The song originally appears on Anastasios 2006 album Bar 17, which features several collaborations with Hart.
Anastasio is expected to revisit Time Turns Elastic this spring. He will also kick off a solo tour with Classic TAB at New Yorks Roseland Ballroom on October 16. Clips of his recent Nashville rehearsals can be found here.
Phil Lesh & Friends returned to Larkspur, CAs Sweetwater Station last night for one final public rehearsal before heading on the road. Like his previous shows this week, Leshs band consisted of the core of Jackie Greene, Larry Campbell, Steve Molitz and John Molo, as well as Barry Sless and Teresa Williams. Unlike his previous public rehearsals, however, Lesh and his band only offered a single, extended set focused on Grateful Dead chestnuts like Terrapin Station, Bertha and Jack Straw. The ensemble continued to roll out some new material, notably the longtime Jerry Garcia Band staple How Sweet It Is. For the fourth time in five shows, Lesh also covered his Ryan Adams, this time rolling out Magnolia Mountain from 2005s Grateful Dead influenced Cold Roses. Phil Lesh & Friends will open a run of shows at Columbia, MDs Merriweather Post Pavilion on September 30.