by Marianne Pousseur


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Henri Pousseur, one of the most significant avant-garde composers of the mid-20th century, left an impressive artistic progeny: composer Denis, theater director Isabelle, photographer Hélène, and singer/performance artist Marianne. Marianne Pousseur has remained as resolutely at the forefront of the cutting edge of experimental music as her father. The artist whose work hers most resembles is Cathy Berberian, another classically trained singer with a naturally gorgeous voice who moved between the worlds of opera, folk traditions, and the works of the foremost modernists of her time. Marianne Pousseur's program notes for Only open with a credo -- "I like to listen to music in places that haven't been designed for it. I like when music mixes in with noise" -- and the album is an expression of that aesthetic. The effect is entirely beguiling and even listeners who are shy of the avant-garde may be susceptible to its charms. Pousseur's voice is lovely and her delivery is natural and unmannered. The pieces are mostly simple, unaccompanied melodies, although a few also include percussion, and the album sounds exactly like what it purports to be: music performed in a variety of ambient settings that include a forest during a rainstorm, an elementary school, a train station, and a church. Pousseur's use of the varied sonic environments contributes brilliantly but subtly to the impact of the performances. Given the modernist notoriety of some of the composers, the music is surprisingly gentle and melodic; this is not the modernist vocal music of jagged leaps, extremes in range, and shrieks that tend to send traditionalists fleeing. Many of the pieces are simply songs, and the four traditional Sephardic folk songs Pousseur includes fit seamlessly into the mix. Frederic Rzewski's setting of Langston Hughes' "Hungry Child" is a real stunner: a haunting, gracefully flowing melody so sweet that its contrast with the devastating message of the poem leaves the listener chilled. The ever-astonishing György Kurtág makes atonality sound entirely natural and spontaneous in his lovely "Lettre d'Epicure," written in homage to the performer's father. Highly recommended; any fan of beautiful singing from off the beaten path is likely to find something to treasure in Pousseur's performances.

Product Details

Release Date: 08/02/2011
Label: Sub Rosa
UPC: 5411867112785
catalogNumber: 278

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Marianne Pousseur   Primary Artist,Vocals
Maxime Echardour   Percussion

Technical Credits

Hanns Eisler   Composer
György Kurtág   Composer
John Cage   Composer
Morton Feldman   Composer
Henri Pousseur   Composer
Frederic Rzewski   Composer
Giacinto Scelsi   Composer
Langston Hughes   Text
Bertolt Brecht   Text
James Joyce   Text
e.e. cummings   Text
Marianne Pousseur   Concept
Rainer Maria Rilke   Text
Théodore Botrel   Composer
Sephardic Traditional   Composer
Friedrich Holderlin   Text
Rudolf Sieczynski   Composer
Michel Butor   Text
Maxime Echardour   Arranger
Diederick De Cock   Sound Design,Engineering

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