YOU'RE CAUSING QUITE A DISTURBANCE
ensemble Erykah Badu, three female backup singers, 40-piece orchestra with rhythm section
duration 50 minutes
commissioned by Brooklyn Philharmonic, Alan Pierson, artistic director
premiere June 7, 2013, Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM)
notes You're Causing Quite a Disturbance weaves together original music by Ted Hearne and arrangements of songs from Erykah Badu's 2008 album New Amerykah: Part One into an evening-length work. Badu performed this work in June 2013 with the Brooklyn Philharmonic, under the direction of Alan Pierson, in two sold-out nights at BAM.
"Erykah Badu didn’t move much in the time she spent onstage at the Brooklyn Academy of Music’s Howard Gilman Opera House, in front of the Brooklyn Philharmonic and a rhythm section. She stood next to the conductor Alan Pierson in a top hat, high-heel boots, blue tights, heavy necklace, and a long coat, which she never took off. She occasionally made a slow, alert swivel toward the backup singers on her right, with a look of approval. Once she turned 90 degrees and methodically played a solo on a theremin, at her left. That was about it.....
"Mr. Hearne wrote material to complement six tracks from the record — “Amerykhan Promise,” “The Healer,” “Soldier,” “Master Teacher,” “Twinkle” and “Me” — as well as four interludes and compositions in themselves. His arrangements weren’t perfunctory, or there to class up the funk; they had rich harmony and tonal range and pulsation. You heard suspensemovie stabs, a high and stringent violin feature (played by Debbie Buck), sets of great pastoral chords with strings advancing to the front of the soundmass and bending them toward slight dissonance. Or you heard new sounds written to complement old material — like the strings in Curtis Mayfield’s 1972 “Freddie’s Dead,” which were already cut up and fragmented in New Amerykah’s version of “Master Teacher” by the producers Shafiq Husayn and Georgia Ann Muldrow."
-Ben Ratliff, The New York Times (6.9.13) read the whole article here