Mercy

Mercy

by Meredith Monk
     
 
"Mercy" is a music theater collaboration between Meredith Monk and visual artist Ann Hamilton, described as "a meditation on the human capacity to both extend and withhold compassion, kindness, empathy, and mercy." It's scored for six dancer/vocalists, two keyboards, percussion, violin, and theremin. Music and choreography are by Monk, with installations by Hamilton.

Overview

"Mercy" is a music theater collaboration between Meredith Monk and visual artist Ann Hamilton, described as "a meditation on the human capacity to both extend and withhold compassion, kindness, empathy, and mercy." It's scored for six dancer/vocalists, two keyboards, percussion, violin, and theremin. Music and choreography are by Monk, with installations by Hamilton. Conception, development, and direction were shared. This disc is the audio-only portion of the show with nary a liner note to sort things out a bit. "Mercy" represents a lovely evolution in Monk's work, with few surprises and departures within the unique and evocative genre she has created. The music is mostly very tonal in the traditional sense and lulling in a calmly minimalist way, though thoughtful and edgy, rarely letting one slip into comfortable inattention. Most of the singing is pure vocalise -- from lyrical singing and chanting to whispers and whoops -- trading the blatant sense of language for a gut experience that aims at something deeper and more atavistic than word setting may achieve. What good is all this without witnessing the stage setting by Hamilton and the remarkable dance and movement choreographed by Monk? Good enough to enjoy and merit total attention in the audio realm alone only, if one is a die-hard fan. There is simply no way to get a sense of Mercy without the visual element. The musical score to, say, "Oklahoma!" pretty much captures the entire sense of the show. But "Mercy" has sections called "doctor/patient," and "line 3 and prisoner," for example, which have almost no meaning stripped of the staging elements. That is the problem with getting Monk's theater works on audio-only discs; wait for the DVD of the entire production.

Editorial Reviews

New York Times - Anne Midgette
Ms. Monk's vocal lines leap, caw, growl and sing, usually beyond the compass of words, supported by repeated lyrical patterns on a synthesizer...or by musings from a bass clarinet...or by a warm burst of percussion.

Product Details

Release Date:
10/29/2002
Label:
Ecm Records
UPC:
0028947246824
catalogNumber:
472468

Tracks

  1. braid 1 and leaping song, for voices & ensemble
  2. braid 2, for voices & bowed marimba
  3. urban march (shadow), for voices, synthesizer & piano
  4. masks, for voices
  5. line 1, for cymbals with microphone (for Meredith Monk's Mercy)
  6. doctor/patient, for voices, piano, marimba & vibraphone
  7. line 2, for cymbals with microphone & violin (for Meredith Monk's Mercy
  8. woman at the door, for voices, piano & melodica
  9. prisoner, for voices & ensemble (with line 3 by John Hollenbeck)
  10. epilogue, for voice, clarinet, piano & melodica
  11. shaking, for voices & ensemble
  12. liquid air, for voices & bowed vibraphone
  13. urban march (light), for voices & ensemble
  14. core chant, for voices & marimba

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Meredith Monk   Primary Artist,Vocals
Katie Geissinger   Vocals
John Hollenbeck   Percussion,Piano,Cymbals,Bass Drums,Gong,Marimbas,Triangle,Vocals,Xylophone,Melodica,Bells,Vibes,cowbell,Metal Percussion,Resonator,Bowed Vibes
Theo Bleckmann   Vocals
Allison M. Sniffin   Synthesizer,Piano,Violin,Viola,Vocals
Ching Gonzalez   Vocals
Bohdan Hilash   Clarinet,Bass Clarinet,Contrabass Clarinet
Allison Easter   Vocals
Allison Sniffin   Synthesizer,Piano,Violin,Viola,Vocals

Technical Credits

Meredith Monk   Producer
Manfred Eicher   Executive Producer
John Hollenbeck   Contributor
Scott Lehrer   Engineer
Thomas Bogdan   Producer
Adrian Hamilton   Liner Note Art,Still Pictures
Bohdan Hilash   Composer

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