The News World

by Charles Burden

News World Staff - May 30,1980

Sci-fi Sounds
at Carnegie

The Diamond Electronic Music Ensemble will perform Friday, June 6, at Carnegie Recital Hall at 8 p.m. This quintet recently presented a program of works by their lead musician, Stuart Diamond, at the Symphony Space. Diamond plays a Lyricon, a sort of electronic clarinet, backed up by one percussionist and two keyboardists. In some of the works, they are joined by Sally Jo Anderson, a pretty soprano.

A massive bank of computerized sound equipment dominates the stage. This puts Diamond's job somewhere between musician and machine operator. Stepping out of this role, however, he adopts the mannerisms of an orchestral conductor. Jerking his curly locks and waving his arms, he appears to evoke the multi-kilowatt electronic harmonies by the intensity of the look on his face. Such emotional concentration is usual for a conductor commanding rows and rows of musicians, but strange coming from keyboard-switchboard operators.

Packaging aside, the music itself sounded like excellent background music from a first class sci-fi movie. I found myself longing to be at the planetarium or in a cinema or at least sitting in the front row of a light show. Spacey, dreamy, sometimes eerie tones provided a rich soundscape across which Diamond leads us with moments of lyrical beauty caught in the extended lines played on his Lyricon.

If you are already a fan of electronic music, or just a sci-fi freak with overactive powers of imagination, you certainly won't want to miss the Diamond Ensemble. If you're a simple soul looking for an evening's entertainment, go somewhere else.