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Ancient Voices of Children


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Audio CD, October 25, 1990
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Product Details

  • Performer: Jan DeGaetani, Michael Dash, George Haas, Stephen Bell, Susan Jolles, et al.
  • Orchestra: The Contemporary Chamber Ensemble
  • Conductor: Arthur Weisberg
  • Composer: George Crumb
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch/Elektra
  • ASIN: B000005IY6
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #140,619 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Ancient Voices Of Children: El Nino Busca Su Voz
2. Ancient Voices Of Children: Dances Of The Ancient Earth
3. Ancient Voices Of Children: Me He Perdido Muchas Veces Por El Mar
4. Ancient Voices Of Children: De Done Vienes, Amor, Mi Nino? (Dance Of The Sacred Life Cycle)
5. Ancient Voices Of Children: Ghost Dance
6. Ancient Voices Of Children: Se Ha Llenado De Luces Mi Corazon De Seda
7. Music For A Summer Evening: Nocturnal Sounds (The Awakening)
8. Music For A Summer Evening: Wanderer-Fantasy
9. Music For A Summer Evening: The Advent
10. Music For A Summer Evening: Myth
11. Music For A Summer Evening: Music Of The Starry Night

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

One of the most important and magical song cycles in contemporary music, Ancient Voices of Children, is the setting of a series of haunting texts by the Spanish poet Federico García Lorca for mezzo-soprano, boy soprano, and chamber orchestra. The piece made a huge impression on audiences at its initial performances. Indeed, this recording became something of a cult phenomenon, much like the Górecki Third Symphony today; and if you weren't around for the initial discovery, now's your chance. Music for a Summer Evening uses essentially the same forces as Bartók's Sonata for Two Pianos and Percussion, and creates an evocative, glittering nightscape. Great stuff.--David Hurwitz

Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Christopher Forbes on June 7, 2002
Format: Audio CD
I just recently reaquainted myself with this work after about thirty years. Ancient voice of Children retains all of the mystery and magic that I heard when I first encountered the piece at the age of 11. The work resembles not so much a conventional piece of music as a mystic ceremony. Set to fragments from the poetry of Frederico Garcia Lorca, the music captures the magical nature of the poet's verse. The unusual instrumental effects are haunting. Amoung my favorite is the quotation from Bist Du Bei Mir played on a toy piano as a haunting elegy for a dead child. The work builds in it's last section to a shattering climax.
The perfomance is quintessential. Jan DeGaetani was marvelous in this style of music and is sorely missed as a performer. The ensemble is spirited and very precise. The only thing that you miss on this CD is the visual choreography of a live performance, which is hypnotizing.
Macrocosmos III was a new piece to me and is every bit as haunting as other Crumb music. The ending is luminous...en eternal spinning out of music in the Lydian scale.
Be aware, this is avant garde music, though I feel it is quite assessible to those who listen without preconceptions. It is certainly more assessible than Elliot Carter or Boulez. It is not Part or Gorecki...but then not everything has to be. For me, this is not about style but about substance. Crumb moves me every bit as much as more assessible composers. You just have to listen with different ears, that's all.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I remember a time when I was at a flea market and was looking through some vinyl records (possibly about the time before I got my first CD player). One particular record got my attention. The cover sort of resembles a newspaper article with a picture insert of a nebula. What got my attention were "Makrokosmos" and that it was a Nonesuch record. I've heard a few Nonesuch records and notice how different the music tends to be. So I thought I buy it for $1 (if I recall correctly). When I listened to it at home, I knew I made a good choice. It had the strange 20th century music - rather atonal. It's a good thing the vinyl record was in good shape, especially when it came to the very quiet parts. I have that record today, still in good shape.
About a few years after buying the vinyl record, I was looking through some CDs in a store (after I got my first CD player). I've found the Nonesuch CD that had "Ancient Voices of Children" AND "Music for a Summer Evening (Makrokosmos III)." I didn't buy it because I wanted to get it on sale. Well, time passed. One day, I saw one up for bid on eBay. I think I was the only bidder on it. The jewel case may have a few scratches (which I wouldn't worry about) but the CD itself was like new.
I'm glad that I got it on CD. I could listen to the music without any clicks or pops you would hear from a vinyl LP (especially since the music gets very quiet at times). Although you wouldn't get the "warm analog sound" you get from the vinyl. Nevertheless, it does sound very good considering that it's AAD. Whoever likes avant-garde music may want to get this.
One thing I want to let you know. Whoever did the tracking on the CD must've misjudged about the beginnings of "Myth" and "Music of the Starry Night." "Myth" begins at index 8:02 on track 9. Tracks 10 and 11 are the last movement, "Music of the Starry Night." Take note of that when listening to this CD.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on September 16, 1999
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
I truly enjoyed these works of the American composer George Crumb. I was 15 years old when I first heard the song-cycle Ancient Voices of Children. It has been a favourite of mine ever since.
Music for a Summer Evening from Makrokosmos III is also fabulous. Crumb uses many avant garde effects, both from the percussion and the two pianos. However, as with the Ancient Voices of Children, these serve a strictly music end.
While Crumb does use many avant garde techniques in his work, it is surprisingly approachable. It may make you want to hear more of his work.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on January 20, 2000
Format: Audio CD
The first time I heard Ancient Voices of Children, I hated it. I didn't understand at all what Crumb was trying to do. But suddenly, I found myself listening to it repeatedly, and it came alive. It haunted me, struck the core of my soul with every syllable. It is now one of my favorite pieces. Music for a summer evening is another fine musical accomplishment by one of America's most talented musicians ever.
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Christopher Coleman on November 12, 2000
Format: Audio CD
This is truly an important modern music CD. Crumb's style is more accessible than many modern composers without compromising artistic integrity. Rather than work with complex pitches and textures, his main interest lies in tone color, which he explores masterfully in both works. He is especially sensitive to percussion and uses a whole host of largely unfamiliar instruments; as a pianist he has innovated piano technique to include any number of playing methods inside the piano (directly on the strings)--strumming them, striking them with various things, and the like. So that the audience can concentrate on these timbres, the textures are often very thin--quite often only one or two lines are playing at a time, and there is a lot of musical space between gestures. I love both of these works, but in particular, I think the last movement of Music for a Summer Evening is one of the most beautiful and haunting pieces *ever* written. This CD has my HIGHEST recommendation. Thanks to Nonesuch for re-releasing this, and in fact combining two of their old LPs. If only they would revive the majority of their old LP catalogue.
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