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Audio CD, October 27, 2009
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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. Femina - Part One11:42Album Only
listen  2. Femina - Part Two10:11Album Only
listen  3. Femina - Part Three10:15Album Only
listen  4. Femina - End Titles 3:16$1.29  Buy MP3 

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 27, 2009)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Tzadik
  • ASIN: B002IJA6DW
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #411,855 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Catfood03 on November 2, 2009
Format: Audio CD
If one is interested in dipping their toes into the pool of John Zorn's more avant music, this would be a good place to start. At times boisterous and rowdy and at other times soothingly beautiful, Feminia encompasses all that's great about John Zorn the Composer. There is a good mix of the style of his more accessible Film Works series paired with the unpredictability of his "game pieces" (i.e, Cobra, Xu Feng). I'd also perhaps throw in a bit from his classical works as well for reference.

For this recording Zorn enlisted a small ensemble of talented women who should be familiar names to devoted followers of the Tzadik label. If you think you've got what to expect from this CD all figured out because of the title and the cast involved then you're going to be pleasantly surprised. I've heard some of these performer's solo works and I was still highly intrigued how their talents interacted with one another.

Feminia is only 35 minutes, but is filled with many more inspired passages than most CDs double it's length. This is definitely one of the better John Zorn releases of the two dozen or so CDs I have heard of his.


I would also add that this is a MUST purchase in the CD format. The foldout digipack is housed in a transparent slipcase with the composer and album title on front and the female gender symbol on back. Inside the fold-out are two pockets, on either side of which houses a card of artwork with credits and "shout-outs" on the back.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By J. GARRATT VINE VOICE on December 15, 2009
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Warning: Unlike the other reviewer, I did not buy the physical CD of "Femina." I purchased the digital download here from Amazon. And when it comes to music released from the Tzadik label, artwork and liner notes can go a long way in providing context. The essentiality of said context can be debated when discussing the music inside. Some might consider the lack of information to be an asset while others will obviously disagree. So if it's all the same to you guys, I'm just gonna roll with it. No information, no liner notes, just sounds coming out of my computer speakers.

I started looking into Zorn's chamber style with "Madness, Love and Mysticism," a rather bipolar assault on the 12 tone scale, Schoenberg on a bad trip. The opening track stood in contrast to the understated "Duras: Duchamp" that I purchased not long afterword. Where the former was a blistering flashback of early 20th century, the latter was more meditative. Not only did it have more to latch onto, it seemed to be headed in an entirely different direction. What you call that direction is unknown to me, given my underdeveloped taste in chamber music.

So along comes "Femina," the only Zorn release of 2009 to represent his ram shackled chamber side. There is a combination of the usual, conventional suspects (violin, cello, harp, piano, et al.) and the good old fashioned John Zorn weirdness that has become a defining characteristic of his (dribbling water, sputtering electronics, objects colliding and/or falling with much ruckus, hollering women). Strange without being atonal or off-putting, "Femina" can be, a majority of the time, breath-taking.

The first movement, to me at least, is the most striking.
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2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Michael Stack VINE VOICE on February 1, 2010
Format: Audio CD
Confession time-- I love John Zorn-- I have everything he's put out (quite literally), I happily make the 200+ mile trip between my house and The Stone to go to Zorn's improv parties, but...

I don't love the file card stuff.

That said, take this review in that light-- look at my review of Godard/Spillaneor The Bribe-- I just can't get terribly enthusiastic about them. I get where he's going with the compositional style-- subject matter immersion leads to small motifs and ideas written on file cards that are then ordered and performed by ensembles. It's a near idea, but ultimately except for the superb "Two Lane Highway" (on the original issue of Spillane), I've always felt these pieces lack compositional unity even as they have such strong thematic unity.

So "Femina"-- Zorn's tribute to women in the arts, performed by an ensemble of women in the downtown music scene-- violinist Jennifer Choi, pianist Sylvie Courvoisier, harpist Carol Emanuel, cellist Okkyung Lee, electronic musician Ikue Mori and percussionist Shayna Dunkelman (with a cameo by Laurie Anderson)-- is pretty much in the same vein. Brief passages evoke different thoughts, images, some of them delicate and lovely, some fierce and explosive, some quirky and bizarre. Largely, I find each of these moments to be successful and there are many fantastic performances, but it's hard for me to get into it.
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Topic From this Discussion
Where did Michael Stack go?
I've been wondering the same thing, I hope he's all right...
Jan 16, 2010 by Simon James Constable |  See all 7 posts
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