As it turns out, I couldn't make it up to Boston for NEC's farewell to Lee Hyla (and missed the following day's absurdities, courtesy of Boston's Keystone Kops, America's Worst Mayor, and Fox News). But Andy H-D of The Black Torrent Guard was there, and has an excellent writeup.
The second half of the concert consisted of the Boston premiere of his saxophone quartet "Paradigm Lost" and his big hit "Pre-Pulse Suspended". Hyla himself marks "Pre-Pulse" as a turning point in his career, the mythical fusion between concert music and rock and fucking roll. I don't think it rocked as hard as the concerto, mind you, but the glimmers of light are definitely present. Written for twelve instruments, the uniting force was a nervous ostinato quickly tossed back and forth between all of the strings. Generally it was a stream of sixteenth notes, the ultimate punk bass line, but often each player would take liberties with either the pitches or rhythms. These twists in the line reverbated throughout the ensemble like stone dropped in a pond. Similar to "Basic Training" the proverbial stones got bigger (rock, Buick, small moon) and the ensemble became more and more unhinged until the stones stopped and everything reverted.
In other Boston news, Pat reports from the Dave Douglas masterclass at NEC.