Music is all around us—in the wind, the rain, and the weird sounds that children make. Listen to something that's actually been rehearsed with this GrouponLive deal to see ETHEL and Todd Rundgren at the Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University. For $35, you get two tickets for reserved main-floor seating on Friday, October 26, at 8 p.m. (up to a $90.40 value, including all fees). Doors open at 7 p.m.
Calling New York’s ETHEL a string quartet is like calling a tyrannosaurus rex a housepet. As Pitchfork puts it, the group is “a living affront to the misconception that chamber music is polite, white-napkin stuff.” Since their conception in 1998, the Juilliard-trained virtuosos have embraced, dissected, and rebuilt classical music with wunderkind curiosity and the unbridled passion of a mad scientist, collaborating with a who’s who of musical adventurers such as David Byrne, John Zorn, and Andrew Bird. In 2005, their imaginations melded with the kaleidoscopic mind of multi-instrumentalist, studio wizard, and rock icon Todd Rundgren for a tour that forged an electric connection between the two musical forces.
In their imaginative new program, entitled Tell Me Something Good, the two violins, viola, and cello of ETHEL reestablish their bond with Todd Rundgren’s gnarled six-string. The collective works together as one amplified organism, painting an all-encompassing musical portrait of the 1970s that conjures the sound and atmosphere of glam rock, Watergate, and Vietnam. The program showcases a stirring movement of Lou Harrison’s 1972 ethereal dreamscape Quartet Set, and composer Kimo Williams's Quiet Shadows, a tonal poem that envisions the isolated thoughts of Vietnam War soldiers on guard duty. ETHEL and Todd also put their stamp on the Afro-futuristic sounds of Sun Ra and a new work from composer Judd Greenstein, all performed against the red and gold shades of Clowes Memorial Hall’s lavish auditorium.