Image by James Richards IV
If you were swept up in the whirl of extravagant acts populating the post-Millennium New York music scene, you probably couldn’t help but think, “I could definitely see these bands eventually going orchestral.” It took them awhile, but Interpol did go and release late last year an orchestra-emboldened version of “If You Really Love Nothing,” from their 2018 album Marauder. But prior to that, all around artful Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner had made a veritable mission of exploring his, well, classical side.
He actually wrote “41 Strings” with Berrin Noorata all the way back in 2011 – and like Vivaldi’s epic “Four Seasons,” it is meant to evoke winter, spring, summer and fall. (Notably, the spring section of the composition is currently the theme song for HBO’s Vice.) But never one to just conceptualize, he has since taken it around the world, performing with, yes, full accompaniment at such esteemed venues as London’s Royal Festival Hall, and the exalted Sydney Opera House. Now he’s bringing it back home for a truly grand music spectacle at Gotham’s glorious Rockefeller Center, on Saturday, July 27, at 6pm.
For the momentous event, Zinner has assembled an impressive 51-piece orchestra, including the considerable likes of Lenny Kaye from the Patti Smith Band, Jaleel Bunton of TV on the Radio, Nancy Whang of LCD Soundsystem, Ryan Sawyer of Gang Gang Dance, Paul Banks from the aforementioned Interpol, and, naturally, Yeah Yeah Yeahs bandmate and drummer Brian Chase. All this, plus a 35-piece string ensemble, with arrangement by violinist-violist Gillian Rivers.
“I’m so excited to bring this piece back to New York City,” Zinner enthuses, “where it was written and first performed in 2011. It’s always a massive undertaking, and a true joy to perform; and it’s a real honor to be able to do this in such an iconic space as Rockefeller Center.”
Of course, since it would be a cultural travesty to limit this sort of magnificence to an elite, insidery audience, the “41 Strings” performance is, indeed, open to the public. But just be warned…there will be no tree lighting ceremony to accompany the piece.