From the New World: Rassegna di Nuova Musica, Vol. 1

From the New World: Rassegna di Nuova Musica, Vol. 1

     
 
In the liner notes of Stradivarius' From the New World, Vol. 1, painter Paul Klee is cited as having said he wished he could return to being a newborn baby once more so that he could forget about Europe. "Forgetting about Europe" seems to be the theme of From the New World, Vol. 1, which at first glance appears to be a

Overview

In the liner notes of Stradivarius' From the New World, Vol. 1, painter Paul Klee is cited as having said he wished he could return to being a newborn baby once more so that he could forget about Europe. "Forgetting about Europe" seems to be the theme of From the New World, Vol. 1, which at first glance appears to be a compilation, but is a condensation of recordings made at three annual festivals held at Macerata, Italy, by the Rassegna di Nuova Musica di Macerata. These events were all exclusively devoted to the work of American composers, although the performers are mostly Italian. Although by nature of what it is, this cannot help but be a mixed bag, From the New World, Vol. 1, does provide a tantalizing glimpse of what American music means to Europeans, with its examples of wide-ranging experimentalism and the unstated, but palpable notions of "freedom." The recordings are all live from the festival and the sound is not great overall, being a tad quiet and distant, although thankfully there is no applause. On the plus side, there is a terrific performance of Henry Cowell's "The Banshee" by pianist Fausto Bongelli, which at 4:42 is probably the longest interpretation ever released on a recording -- it is truly spooky and very well extrapolated from the score. Another outstanding feature -- and this will likely be the item that proves most appealing to American consumers of this disc -- is Terry Riley performing his own previously unrecorded piece "Beat Sutra #7," a jazzy improvisation designed to fall underneath a reading by Beat poet Michael McClure. The Druckman, Feldman, and Sessions works are heard in decent performances that are somewhat compromised by the distant sound. Trombonist Mike Svoboda arranges three Charles Ives songs for trombone and band, but these fail to get off the ground as the Italian band sounds terribly lax and under-rehearsed, and it appears that whatever source Svoboda used for "Charlie Rutlage" for a musical text was faulty. However, this is not the worst idea on From the New World, Vol. 1 -- that distinctly belongs to Peter Söderberg and Francesco Dillon's arrangement of John Cage's "Dream" for archlute and cello. On paper it sounds like an inspired concept, but (a) the piece is transposed and (b) the cello "sustains" pitches while the archlute plays Cage's melody line, a plan that does not work and is not what Cage had in mind at all. Nonetheless, From the New World, Vol. 1, is informative in a way, and does bring a first-rate "Banshee," so to condemn it out of hand wouldn't be fair. But that and the Riley combined mean that only 18 minutes of this hour-long disc is wholly satisfactory, a ratio that might not prove enough for many consumers.

Product Details

Release Date:
06/13/2006
Label:
Stradivarius
UPC:
8011570337375
catalogNumber:
33737

Tracks

  1. At the River, song for voice & piano, S. 214 (K. 6B54)  - Charles Ives  - Michael Svoboda  - Banda Comunale Giuseppe Verdi di Pollenza  - Fernando Sileoni
  2. Dynamic Motion. for piano, HC 213/1  - Henry Cowell  - Fausto Bongelli
  3. Dream, for piano  - John Cage  - Francesco Dillon  - Peter Söderberg
  4. The Banshee, for piano strings, HC 405  - Henry Cowell  - Fausto Bongelli
  5. Valentine for double bass  - Jacob Druckman  - Stefano Scodanibbio
  6. Ilmenau (Over all the treetops), song for voice & piano, S. 272 (K. 6B39a)  - Charles Ives  - Michael Svoboda  - Banda Comunale Giuseppe Verdi di Pollenza  - Fernando Sileoni
  7. A Very Short Trumpet Piece, for trumpet  - Morton Feldman  - Michael Svoboda
  8. Work(s): Beat Sutra  - Terry Riley  - Terry Riley
  9. Pieces (6) for cello  - Roger Sessions  - Lucas Fels
  10. Charlie Rutlage, song for voice & piano, S. 226 (K. 6B61a)  - Charles Ives  - Michael Svoboda  - Banda Comunale Giuseppe Verdi di Pollenza  - Fernando Sileoni

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