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Crumb: Vox Balaenae / Federico's Little Songs For Children / 11 Echoes Of Autumn
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Crumb: Vox Balaenae / Federico's Little Songs For Children / 11 Echoes Of Autumn

1 décembre 2006 | Format : MP3

EUR 7,99 (TVA incluse le cas échéant)
Également disponible en format CD

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Par calade TOP 1000 COMMENTATEURS le 19 avril 2014
Format: CD Achat vérifié
C'est le titre traduit de la principale pièce de Crumb. Les chants des balaines étaient à la mode dans les années 1970. Crumb en a profité pour s'en inspirer (un peu) afin de construire une atmosphère envoutante, mystérieuse et très intime, d'une musique dont on ne sait plus si elle est classique ou d'avant garde, simple ou savante. C'est déroutant et pourtant très familier.
Le mieux est évidemment de se livrer à l'expérience en concert mais à défaut le disque de Naxos est tout à fait précieux.
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Commentaires client les plus utiles sur (beta) HASH(0xa3485858) étoiles sur 5 4 commentaires
11 internautes sur 12 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa4223ca8) étoiles sur 5 George Crumb on Naxos 6 février 2007
Par Robin Friedman - Publié sur
Format: CD
The Naxos "American Classics" series continues to offer invaluable introductions to American art music, from the traditional to the avant garde. This Naxos release of music by the American composer George Crumb (b.1929) falls in the latter category. It is the second release on Naxos of music by this intriguing, taut, and serious composer. The earlier Naxos CD, released in mid-2006, featured Crumb's setting of poetry by Federico Lorca, "Songs, Dances, and Refrains of Death" performed by the Arte Nouveau Ensemble. This second release is performed by the New Music Concerts Ensemble, a Toronto group which champions new music, led by flutist Robert Aiken. It includes a short song cycle together with three important chamber works. The program notes are by Crumb himself.

Crumb's music is dramatic and programmatic. His themes include nature, death, and religious mysticism. Crumb's music uses unusual instruments and effects and also uses standard western instruments in novel ways. His works place great emphasis on the timbre -- the qualities -- of the varied instrument and of the human voice. It is spare and minimalist.

Lorca's anguished poetry brings out the best in Crumb. This CD to features a setting of Lorca, but in a lighter vein than Crumb's other works. In 1986, after eight separate settings of Lorca poems including his most famous work, "Ancient Voices of Children," Crumb set a series of seven Lorca poems written for children, titled "Federico's Little Songs for Children." The cycle is performed by Canadian soprano Teri Dunn to the accompaniment of flute and harp. In the seven songs, Robert Aitken performs on four different kinds of flute, including the bass and alto flute and the piccolo, while harpist Erica Goodman likewise exploits the full timbre and range of her instrument. The songs vary in style from the serious to the whimsical, as Dunn alternately sings, declaims, whispers, shouts and snarls through the varied passages of Crumb's score. The text of the songs and translations are offered on the Naxos web site.

Crumb's 1971 composition, "Vox Balaenae" exemplifies his love of nature and of the theatrical. Crumb directs each of the three performers to wear a black half-mask to "effac[e] a sense of human projection [and] represent, symbolically, the powerful impersonal forces of nature." The music is inspired by a tape of the singing of the humback whale and is scored for flute, cello, and piano, each electronically amplified. The music is a lament for the fate of the whale in the face on an increasingly hostile environment created by human beings. In hearing this work, I thought of Rautavaara's "Cantus Arcticus" which, in fact, uses a tape or songs of Arctic birds, and of Alan Hovhaness's "And God Created Great Whales" which explores themes similar to Crumb's work. (Although we writes in a more accessible, popular style, Hovhaness seems to me to share many of Crumb's themes and preoccupations.)

The "Eleven Echoes of Autumn" composed in 1965 for violin, alto flute, clarinet and piano, features three short movements for flute violin, and cello, respectively leading to a stormy climax and then fading away. This chamber work too is inspired by Lorca, as the performers are instructed to whisper a Lorca text, "and the broken arches where time suffers" at several points in the score.

The final work on this CD is the "Idyll for the Misbegotten" composed in 1986. The work is scored for flute and percussion and rises to moments of deep force and intensity. Crumb writes that 'misbegotten' "well describes the fateful and melancholy predicament of the species homo sapiens at the present moment in time" as human beings have set themselves in opposition to nature rather than attempt to live harmoniously within nature. (Crumb here offers a restatement of the human predicament, while holding on to only one end of it.) This work as well includes whispers and vocal asides from the performers as they are instructed to intone lines from an eight-century Chinese poet: "The moon goes down. There/are shivering birds and/ withering grasses."

This Naxos CD offers an excellent opportunity for the adventurous listener to explore the difficult and strangely moving music of George Crumb.

Robin Friedman
HASH(0xa2c78b28) étoiles sur 5 Five Stars 16 octobre 2015
Par Candace - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
Used in Sleepy Hollow for scary parts...charming
3 internautes sur 6 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2c7d024) étoiles sur 5 A curmudgeon's view: Too avant garde for my pedestrian tastes 30 mai 2010
Par T. Fisher - Publié sur
Format: CD Achat vérifié
I bought this CD in a fit of adventurousness, encouraged by the positive review, and hoping to broaden my horizons a bit with a modern composer who uses naturalistic themes. It turns out I'm not as adventurous as I had hoped to be.

The title composition, inspired by humpback whalesong, actually only has a few short cello phrases actually recalling whalesong. There are some very interesting piano runs that sound like prepared piano, but on the whole after multiple hearings I found little to grab my attention.

The next work, a song cycle based on poetry by Federico Lorca, is interesting for featuring all members of the flute family. The piece features a single soprano over flute and harp accompaniment. Again there are some interesting passages, but the overall tenor of the piece recalled for me works like "Pli selon Pli" from Pierre Boulez's uncompromising period. The mood may be more playful, but the general atonality and arrhythmia were not to my taste.

My favorite piece is probably "Idyll for the Misbegotten", featuring flute and percussion. This has some powerful moments.

The unifying force of the album is flutist Robert Aitken, the only performer featured on all the pieces here. I like some of what Crumb does with the flute, at times the instrument recalls Japanese shakuhachi playing. The main difference, however, being that shakuhachi is generally played in music intended to be relaxing and meditative, while Crumb's flute patterns are often set within a more jarring, dissonant context. The effect is often more agitating than soothing.

The best part of the CD for me were the liner notes by Crumb himself. He was able to convey his intentions well, and I can appreciate what he was trying to do intellectually. However, this music didn't speak to me the way it may speak to others. Crumb studied for a time in Germany during the 1950s, and while his music incorporates more naturalistic and Far Eastern elements, I still felt what seemed to be a strong Darmstadt School influence.

I suppose I'll have to resign myself to having more pedestrian tastes. If militant Darmstadt with naturalistic overtones sounds like your cup of tea, you may find this CD very good.
1 internautes sur 11 ont trouvé ce commentaire utile 
HASH(0xa2c83d44) étoiles sur 5 Music for college students by a composer who still thinks like one. 25 avril 2012
Par David Alt. - Publié sur
Format: CD
Reviewer "T. Fischer" is concerned that perhaps he doesn't like this music because his taste is "pedestrian."
He might just prefer music with discernible form, and maybe even some melody.
Most distinctly "modern" music (which became old-fashioned decades ago) is just successive sounds expressing mysterious moods not dwelled upon by most mature people. The music on this CD has lots of crescendos, instrumental soloists whispering spooky isolated words, arpeggios, etc. Tiresome.
I fancied myself a fan of Crumb back in my college days in the '70's; nice to have grown up.

Having just read some of the notes Fischer praised that come with this CD (I just picked it up for $2, discarded from a public library, and will be giving it away soon), it is clear that Crumb still has the mind-set of a self-pitying "alienated" nature-worshiping college student. No wonder I once listened to his stuff; also a wonder that he still writes it.

That said, the performances seem quite good and the recording quality is superb. On it's own terms this CD is excellent.
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