Cabaret at The Rep

It's Greg here, commenting on our latest concert in Milwaukee, Wisconsin - an awesome cabaret-style event with an awesome audience! We were so fortunate to premiere our new depiction of Saint-Saens' zoological fantasy in a theatrical setting populated with joyous listeners.

Our latest composition is a completely new take on Saint-Saëns' Carnival of the Animals. This is not the Carnival of the Animals you heard in your third grade music class, even though it's based on some of the familiar melodies from the original score (in addition to a whole lot more). The piece attempts to go beyond a simple musical depiction of animals; in fact, it has more to say about humans than anything else...

The premiere went remarkably well, considering the rush to compose and prepare it in time. Yes, there were a few lost notes here and there, but we compensated with our characteristic first-performance adrenaline and spontaneity. I am, nonetheless, quite embarrassed to confess that I completely lost it when Liz began speaking in a pseudo-European accent during the text to "Homo pianisticus!" "Keep a straight face, Greg! Keep a straight face!"

If we learned one thing performing at The Rep in Milwaukee, however, it was this: don't let your audience select and arrange a portion of your program for you. In theory, it was a great idea – it allowed audience members to interact with us and it gave them a say in the shape and content of the program. But in practice, the results can be downright merciless to the performers!

Audience members were given a ballot to fill out during the first half of the concert.

"Please vote for three of the following works. The three or four pieces to receive the highest number of votes will be performed by the Anderson & Roe Piano Duo during the second half of the program."

What did the audience choose? The fastest, most technically challenging pieces on the list! Do we blame them? Of course not! Is it physically possible to follow the first impression from our Star Wars Fantasy with the "Dance of the Earth" from The Rite of Spring and our arrangement of Piazzolla's Libertango? Well, barely!

Regardless, the "Audience Votes" section of our concert kept us on our toes, and we were sure to conclude the concert with an unhurried encore.

If you were in attendance, let us know what you thought!