Live Shot: Golden Hornet Project: Symphony III

Live Shots

Phases and Stages
Photo By John Anderson

Golden Hornet Project: Symphony III

The Off Center, Oct. 11 As Peter Stopschinski awoke from ambitious dreams, he found himself transformed in his bed into a composer of symphonies. His newfound powers apparently caused him to bug out, as he thrust nothing less than a full-fledged Kafka-style tale of critter warfare upon this unconventional orchestral assemblage and the adventurous scenesters that trekked to the cozy Off Center off East Seventh. Stopschinski's buzzing presentation, which took flight before Golden Hornet Project co-captain Graham Reynolds' second-half piece, continued the Brown Whörnet keyman's longtime musical preoccupation with arthropods. Divided into five sections (including a section titled "Oh, Shit! Bugs"), San Antonio Opera conductor Wayne Wyman guided the 36 musicians down a number of confounding paths. From a splashy cymbal spray and the tooting of a single woodwind to the one-two-three-four of a cheap-sounding drum machine, Stopschinski's Symphony #3 worked mostly in smaller sections, shining brief spotlights before swinging across the stage to a completely different species of troublemaker. Most distinct were the electro-squelches from Stopschinski's Brown Whörnet bandmate Jimmy Burdine. Playful and heavy-handed, the synths were the nasty, swarming critters that just wouldn't go away. Stopschinski's creation was so engaging that 30 helter-skelter minutes seemed like five. Reynolds' Symphony III, according to the Golden One's program notes, was inspired by Stravinsky and garage rock, and no slouch either. Reynolds' piece was about timbre and texture, making full use of the collective power of these 36 eclectic locals, featuring such notables as Leigh Mahoney of Tosca, sax master Alex Coke, and Cinders/My Education stringers Travis Weller and James Alexander. Textural ebb and flow gave way to careening rhythms and visceral jigs, with the oddity of a bassoon solo stuck smack-dab in the middle. Midway through, police sirens blared off Seventh Street, serving as a reminder of the sheer exhilaration of taking a big, thick set of rules, ripping them into 36 pieces, and setting them ablaze in grandiose fashion. (Peter Stopschinski accompanies Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages with his own original score, Wednesday, Oct. 22, at the Alamo Drafthouse Downtown.)

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