Follow us:

Soundposts

A blog for Seattle music lovers of all stripes, from hip-hop and indie rock to jazz and world music.

March 16, 2014 at 12:52 PM

Riveting performance by Agnes Obel at St. Mark’s Cathedral | Concert review

Danish musician Agnes Obel’s atmospheric chamber pop held an audience spellbound at a special appearance Saturday night at St. Mark’s Cathedral.

Agnes Obel's music was perfectly suited for the wonderful acoustics at St. Mark's Cathedral. (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Agnes Obel’s music was perfectly suited for the wonderful acoustics at St. Mark’s Cathedral. (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Obel was originally scheduled to appear at St. Mark’s the previous Saturday, March 8, but was held up by visa difficulties. She smiled as she told the audience “Did I mention it’s so fantastic to be in Seattle?” adding that the city’s climate is similar to that of her native Denmark.

Obel accompanied herself on piano, muting the sound by laying a shawl over the strings. Her cool, clear voice was well suited for the delicate, haunting melodies Obel played on the piano, with a violinist and cello player providing a melancholy undercurrent.

The concert featured songs from Obel’s most recent album, “Aventine,” released last year, and hailed by the “Guardian” (who praised the “exquisite arrangements” and music that “evoke[s] the desolation of being awake at 3 a.m.”). The instrumentals were especially impressive; not being tethered to a vocal enabled the music to soar, as if reaching for the cathedral heights. One such number steadily built in intensity and volume until the musicians abruptly stopped playing, leaving the sound hanging in the air; an exceptionally dramatic moment.

The cathedral’s gorgeous acoustics heightened the pristine sound. And the audience’s silence was such that it seemed as if they were holding their collective breath. No coughs, no murmurings, no rustling paper; it was the kind of reverent quiet only heard at performances of “The Ring” cycle.

Local singer/songwriter Bryan John Appleby opened the show with a short, emotive set that included originals and a cover of Simon & Garfunkel’s “Sound of Silence.”

Bryan John Appleby opened the show with a short set. (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Bryan John Appleby opened the show with a short set. (photo: Gillian G. Gaar)

Comments | More in Folk, Rock/Pop | Topics: Agnes Obel, Bryan John Appleby, Concert reviews


Advertising
The Seattle Times

The door is closed, but it's not locked.

Take a minute to subscribe and continue to enjoy The Seattle Times for as little as 99 cents a week.

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Subscriber login ►
The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription upgrade.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. For unlimited seattletimes.com access, please upgrade your digital subscription.

Call customer service at 1.800.542.0820 for assistance with your upgrade or questions about your subscriber status.

The Seattle Times

To keep reading, you need a subscription.

We hope you have enjoyed your complimentary access. Subscribe now for unlimited access!

Subscription options ►

Already a subscriber?

We've got good news for you. Unlimited seattletimes.com content access is included with most subscriptions.

Activate Subscriber Account ►