In the review on Eighth Blackbird’s performance of Sleeping Giant’s Suite “Hand Eye” in January 2016, music critic Anthony Tommasini gave a clear introduction on Sleeping Giant and a concise overview of the program.
Tommasini started the article by talking about the idea of individual ownership of musical work by composers (Tommasini 2016). It is commonly understood that composers do not create a piece of music and share its credit collaboratively (McAndrew and Everett 2014). However, the critic went on saying that Sleeping Giant is a composers’ collective, which is opposed to the general understanding that composers work alone. The opening of the review has successfully captured my attention to read more about Sleeping Giant and their premiere of “Hand Eye”.
“Hand Eye” is a suite consisting of six pieces composed by six different composers from Sleeping Giant. The critic provided much background information about “Hand Eye”, including each composer’s inspiration of different artwork from the Maxine and Stuart Frankel Foundation for Art (Tommasini 2016). This article certainly helps readers to gain a better understanding of the pieces through describing the inspiring artwork, the instruments used and the mood of each piece. On the contrary, the critic did not provide enough detail of the performer, Eighth Blackbird Ensemble, except acknowledging them as an “impressive sextet”. In other words, this article only focuses on Sleeping Giant and their work “Hand Eye”.
Furthermore, this review could have mention more about the context of a composers’ collective. From a reader’s perspective, it would be more interesting knowing how Sleeping Giant sits in the contemporary music world and what is the importance of a collective musical work such as “Hand Eye”. In conclusion, this review has an appropriate tone, content and format. Yet, it could expand more on the context of the work and its performer, instead of only look at what was performed in the concert.
McAndrew, Siobhan, and Martin Everett. “Music as Collective Invention: A Social Network Analysis of Composers.” Cultural Sociology, August 2014.
Tommasini, Anthony. Review: Eighth Blackbird Ensemble Plays Sleeping Giant’s Suite . 2016. https://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/20/arts/music/review-eighth-blackbird-ensemble-plays-sleeping-giants-suite.html.