The Henry Brant Collection, Vol. 1

The Henry Brant Collection, Vol. 1

by Henry Brant


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The Henry Brant Collection, Vol. 1

One maverick composer of the "old guard" American avant-garde, other than Elliott Carter, is still here and making music today -- Henry Brant. Like Carter, Brant was in the first generation of American composers to benefit from the direct influence of the music of Charles Ives. Since 1950 Brant has pursued a unique interest in expanding instrumental resources through stereophonically conceived "spatial" scoring. Whereas Carter is regarded as an institutional icon, throughout his career Brant has received very little "love" from institutions of any kind. Recordings of Brant's works have been few and far between, and known only to a tight minority of the hardest-core collectors of American contemporary music. But recently in the concert and academic spheres there have been signs that this is turning around, especially since Brant was honored in 2002 with a Pulitzer Prize for his composition "Ice Field." The Minnesota-based contemporary music label Innova has finally begun to redress the balance with The Henry Brant Collection, Vol. 1, which contains one huge work, "Northern Lights Over the Twin Cities" (1985), and a little one, "A Plan of the Air" (1975). "Northern Lights Over the Twin Cities" is a wild, noisy, crazy celebration of the kitchen-sink effect in music -- the multiplied instrumental groups contrast massive tone clusters against a dance band playing Glenn Miller-styled phrases, the huge chorus wails through the roof, and jagged instrumental lines tangle and separate from one another from a variety of places in the hall. Though the piece runs a whopping 96 minutes and is spread out over two CDs, it is never dull -- there's always something striking and unusual happening, and like some music of Ives, parts of "Northern Lights Over the Twin Cities" tickle your funny bone. "A Plan of the Air" is less ambitious and also more serious in tone -- big, dissonant chords move slowly over an area of negative space in a manner akin to "high holy minimalism", although this work was written quite a bit before that trend in music was singled out as being something specific. American composers in the experimental tradition whose roots go back to before World War II use a distinctive tonal palette that is free of the structural rigors of serialism, and though highly dissonant, still connects with something in your brain that indicates forward direction. Brant comes right out of the center of that tradition -- while there is plenty of music on this collection that sounds unusual and out of the way, there is little that sounds unfamiliar or difficult to grasp. One reservation, and it's a considerable one, is the sound. These are university-made recordings of live performances, and are far from being top quality -- the recorded image is not placed in a discreet stereophonic ambience so much as it merely represents the multiple instrumental groups as being either close or far away. Some of the music that is played further away demonstrates telltale signs of tape hiss, and here and there parts of the tape of "Northern Lights Over the Twin Cities" break up a bit. But these are the sole recordings of works that have been performed only once or twice, and they will certainly do for now. Mastering engineer Teo Macero seems to have gotten the best than can be had out of these sources, which weren't made for commercial release in the first place. If you are a frequent flyer in the realm of American contemporary music, The Henry Brant Collection, Vol. 1 is a trip that you will want to take, not miss.

Product Details

Release Date: 02/03/2004
Label: Innova Records
UPC: 0726708640828
catalogNumber: 408

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Henry Brant   Primary Artist,Conductor
John Benson   Flute
Ted Snyder   Tenor Saxophone
Paula Owen   Horn
David Llewellyn   Trumpet
University of Wisconsin Symphony Band   Band
Tommy Gardner   Flute
James Bohn   Brass Baritone
Tim Stevens   Euphonium
Alvin King   Baritone (Vocal)
David Lord Larson   Clarinet
Dave Johnson   Trumpet
Sharon Murphy   Flute
Marsha Ward   Trombone
Derrick Dixon   Tenor Saxophone
Wayne Dalton   Baritone
Keith Witte   Percussion
Patrick M. Devine   Trombone
Solveig Aasen   Alto Saxophone
Cindy Lambert   Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Kathy Langeness   Trombone
Linda Becker   Clarinet
Janeth Bennet   Clarinet
Merlin Bicking   Trumpet
Kristie Yokum   Piano
Loa Cain   Horn
David Cody   E-flat Clarinet
Karen Lindberg   Alto Saxophone
Jim Dickrell   Euphonium
Mark Dzubay   Trumbadoras
Julie Forehand   Flute
Edouard Forner   Conductor
Kathy Frederick   Percussion
Susan Gilbert   Flute
Brad Haase   Percussion
Charlot Hagberg   Clarinet
Vicki Hagberg   Clarinet
Neal Haglund   Cornet
Kathleen Hanson   Flute,Piccolo
Laura Harris   Euphonium
Bruce Hasselquist   Cornet
Mary Heebink   Clarinet
Doug Heinzen   Cornet
Jeanie Heitzman   Cornet
Andrew Hoag   Conductor
Glenn Hoeft   Trombone
Diane Hunt   Flute
Kathleen Hunter   Alto Saxophone
Christie Iverson   English Horn,Oboe
George Koepp   Bass Clarinet
Cheryl Luettinger   Euphonium
Wanda Luettinger   Horn
Carleton Macy   Conductor
Shelley McConaughui   Flute
Terri McDermott   Trombone
Paul Merrill   Clarinet
Melanie Miller   Cornet
Mary Mortenson   Alto Saxophone
Nancy Newbauer   Oboe
Jan Nilson   Horn
Joan Oftedahl   Clarinet
David Olsen   Percussion
Lori Olson   Cornet
Jeanne Pedersen   Alto Clarinet
Mark Pedersen   Cornet
Rick Penning   Tenor Saxophone,Tenor (Vocal)
Cathie Perrault   Bassoon
Rodger Preble   Trombone
Randy Rischette   Horn
Sarita Roche   Soprano,Soprano (Vocal)
Kathy Romey   Conductor
Joan Ross   Tenor Saxophone
David Ruether   Baritone Saxophone
Susan Schmidt   Flute,Piccolo
Kathy Schneider   Percussion
Elizabeth Skinner   Percussion
Amy Snyder   Conductor
Penny Trader   Clarinet
David Vandermeuse   Tuba
Mary Helen Waldo   Bassoon
Joan Walstead   Cornet
Leanne Warner   Cornet
Sandra Wedepohl   Horn
Kathy Weigert   Trombone
Andy Westberg   Horn
Elliot Wilcox   Cornet
Joan Willett   Flute
Carol Johnson   Flute
Macalester Special Percussion Group   Ensemble
Macalester Pipe Band   Band
Macalester Symphony Orchestra   Performing Ensemble
Robert Hanson   Tenor (Vocal)
Macalester Concert Choir   Choir, Chorus
Sandra Cross   Soprano (Vocal)
Macalester Dance Ensemble   Ensemble
Ten-Piano Ensemble   Ensemble
Mac Jazz   Ensemble
Macalester Symphonic Band   Band
Kathy Salzman Romey   Choir Director
Macalaster Festival Chorale   Choir, Chorus
W. Larry Brentzel   Conductor

Technical Credits

Henry Brant   Liner Notes
Philip Blackburn   Executive Producer
Adam Snyder   Composer
Alex Theoret   Engineer
Leonardo DaVinci   Artwork
Edouard Forner   Band Coordinator
Becky Heist   Choreographer
Paul Herzing   Producer
Carleton Macy   Director,Percussion Leader
Kathy Romey   Director
Amy Snyder   Composer's Assistant
Michael Fossenkemper   Engineer
Patricia Gorman Brant   Text
Leonardo da Vinci   Artwork

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