Quadrivium serves up music of Genesis and Pink Floyd

The five band members of The Quadrivium Project standing outside the NC State University Free Expression Tunnel. Kate Annett-Hitchcock is adding a brick to the wall. The brick is painted as the Union Jack of the United Kingdom.

Live music returns to Stewart Theatre in August 2021, when The Quadrivium Project – the faculty rock band at NC State University – performs “All in All,” a concert featuring the music of Genesis and Pink Floyd.

Performances are scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 26 and Saturday, Aug. 28 at 8 p.m. (Click on the dates to order tickets online.) Prices are $8 for students and $15 for all others. This will be a general admission event, with plenty of empty seats to promote physical distancing. As of Aug. 2, face coverings are again required in all indoor spaces on the NC State campus regardless of vaccination status (the latest updates to campus community standards are available at ncsu.edu/coronavirus). As a precaution, due to the known particle distribution from singing, the first four rows of the theatre will not be available for seating. Content warning: two Pink Floyd songs contain lyrics with adult language.

Gary Beckman, guitarist with The Quadrivium Project and director of Entrepreneurial Studies in the Arts at NC State, provides background for this concert:

The Quadrivium Project chose these two bands (in part) for this concert because they represent a contrast of equals in compositional choice and desired impact. Academic language aside, these are two bands who simply wanted to play music, yes, but also had something unique to “musically” say. While the Pink Floyd members came from (mostly) a middle-class background, most of the Genesis members had a more privileged upbringing. What unites them is that both started in college, just two years apart (1965 and 1967 respectively), in the midst of one of the most dynamic eras of music in the 20th century.

But these simple facts belie the real reason why we chose these two bands. What the audience will experience in August is a contrast in musical choices.

Fundamentally, Genesis is an early progressive rock band: musical experimentation (in part influenced by 20th century classical music), a more theatrical (if not classical) approach to stagecraft, acknowledging the importance of poetic structure in their lyrics, etc. This results in music that has more of a “fine arts” or symphonic-based model – not much variability sonically but a heck of a lot of notes!

Pink Floyd, on the other hand, was more a product of the sonic experimentation, improvisational, unique stagecraft and “experience” priorities of the psychedelic scene. Their music choices where based on accessibility and what selfishly intrigued them sonically. And for these guys, new sounds were far more interesting than a lot of notes. So, what we have with Pink Floyd is a LOT of sonic variability (much of it maddeningly subtle) and not many notes… but the notes are incredible!

What unites these two bands is that they both are struggling with this idea of melody. While Pink Floyd had more crafted, access-able melodies that you can hear clearly (though with just a skeleton of harmonic support), it took Genesis a few albums before they really got that bit right. It was off to the races for them after that.

So, it’s two bands that made musical choices. One focused on notes and not on sounds while the other band did exactly the opposite.

And the pig will fly.

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