Coming up in Philly Music: Midnight and madness in the Fringe

Randall Scarlata performs 'Eight Songs for a Mad King.' (Photo by Inez Oliveras.)

Orchestra 2001 is repeating one of the most striking pieces any Philadelphia music organization performed last season: Peter Maxwell Davies’s Eight Songs for a Mad King. Baritone Randall Scarlata will once again howl, screech, and leap octaves as he portrays the tragic madness of George III. If you missed the original performance, this is a second chance to see something unforgettable.

Orchestra 2001 presents this powerful work in a late-night Fringe event, paired with another piece that should appeal to Fringe audiences looking for something unique. George Crumb’s “Eine kleine Mitternachtmusik” (“A Little Midnight Music”) is a set of 12 variations on a famous jazz theme: Thelonious Monk’s "’Round Midnight." Crumb explores Monk’s world with an amplified piano and inventive piano techniques that include passages in which the pianist hammers the piano’s metal work with a wooden mallet. Crumb doesn’t play games merely to sound odd. His special effects create nocturnal moods labeled with titles like "Premonition," "Cadenza with Tolling Bells," and "Blues in the Night."

Orchestra 2001 will present a Philadelphia Fringe Festival performance of Madness ‘Round Midnight with baritone Randall Scarlata and pianist Marcantonio Barone on September 12 at 10pm at the Painted Bride Art Center, 230 Vine Street, Philadelphia. Tickets ($15 to $20) are available online and at the door.