Earlier this year, Two Star Symphony–a band I had the privilege of seeing up close and personal a couple of years back on episode 8 of Live From Sugar Hill–asked its fans and well-wishers to help fund the recording of its new album, an original ballet score composed for the Dominic Walsh Dance Theatre’s 2008 production of Shakespeare’s Titus Andronicus. Via the IndieGoGo campaign, the group raised more than $7,200 for the album.
Titus Andronicus is a notably dark work–reportedly Shakespeare’s first tragedy–and this seems to fall directly into Two Star’s sweet spot. The group is known for being a bit outside the norm when it comes to what most consider “classical” music, which is among its best traits. And while the music on Titus Andronicus is decidedly more classical than not, the haunting score unquestionably captures the theme of the play. Song titles like “Rape,” “Aaron’s Evil Interlude I,” and “Titus Gone Mad” let listeners know they’re not in for the gentlest of experiences, and Two Star Symphony–musicians Jo Bird, Debra Brown, Margaret Lejeune, and Jerry Ochoa–creates an eerie, yet palatable, set that ranks among the group’s finest work. It’s no surprise that these songs were written by Two Star Symphony–it takes a unique group to create unique work. In less experienced (and more uptight) hands, an album like Titus Andronicus could have been easily overdone. But the subtlety of Two Star’s work keeps that from happening–the members know when to push boundaries and when to rein it in.
Two Star Symphony celebrates the release of Titus Andronicus this Saturday (8.6.11) with two shows (at 8pm and 10pm) at the new Divergence Music and Arts performance space at Spring Street Studios. Admission is $10, but each performance is capped at 85 attendees. Advance tickets may be purchased at www.twostarsymphony.com.
There will be a pay-what-you-can bar, a Tie-Dye Taco cart, and a tattoo station from Texas Tattoo Emporium, where you can get a Two Star Symphony tattoo designed by Bird.
Titus Andronicus will be available on CD at the show for $10.