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Michael Gordon: Decasia

Michael Gordon , Kasper De Roo , Basel Sinfonietta Audio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)

Price: $18.10 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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MP3 Music, 6 Songs, 2011 $8.99  
Audio CD, 2002 $18.10  

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Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Decasia: Part IBasel Sinfonietta13:16Album Only
listen  2. Decasia: Part IIBasel Sinfonietta 9:03Album Only
listen  3. Decasia: Part IIIBasel Sinfonietta 7:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Decasia: Part IVBasel Sinfonietta15:39Album Only
listen  5. Decasia: Part VBasel Sinfonietta 4:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Decasia: Part VIBasel Sinfonietta12:28Album Only

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Michael Gordon: Decasia + Symphony No. 3 (Gloria)
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Product Details

  • Performer: Michael Gordon, Kasper De Roo, Basel Sinfonietta
  • Audio CD (August 13, 2002)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Cantaloupe
  • ASIN: B00006AWJH
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #343,542 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Symphony in Decay September 2, 2002
Format:Audio CD
Michael Gordon's Decasia is a huge single movement work that simply, but relentlessly, explores the idea of decay. As usual, Gordon's spare musical vocabulary combines elements of rock, ambient, minimalism and sheer noise to create a mosaic of sound that is in your face and gone before you realize what has happened. Sort of like life. Similar in atmospheric ambiance to his string orchestra piece WEATHER (Nonesuch)-- Gordon uses an amplified and retuned orchestra to create what seems to be the impression of a piano that has crashed to the ground from a great height, with gripping strings, four detuned pianos, and massive winds and brass.
Gordon's Decasia lies at the heart of Bill Morrison's film of the same name--an 80-minute work created from restored nitrate footage re-photographed onto 35mm, which uses decaying found footage from the early days of film to investigate the human desire to transcend the limitations of earthbound existence. The abstract scenario follows the course of a life-cycle, beginning with 1927 footage by Sergei Eisenstein of a cesarean section and live birth, and includes shots from a mission school where Native Americans were taught discipline by nuns in foreboding black shawls.
At the 2001 premiere performance, the Basel Sinfonietta stood on a triangular pyramid 3 tiers high, completely surrounding the audience within. Produced jointly by Ridge Theater and Basel Sinfonietta, Morrison's film of black and white archival footage in various states of deterioration was projected onto material draping the structure.
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Totalism - Minimal Meets Xenakis December 30, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This CD is my first introduction to the music of Michael Gordon, one of the founding triumverate of New York's Bang on a Can. Judging by this release I've missed something quite special.
Decasia was commissioned by the Basel Sinfonietta in Switerland, who premiered it as a multimedia event in 2001. Devoid of the visual content here, the music still impresses with it's originality and sheer sonic impact. The music combines the repetative structures of minimalism (albiet, not evenly repetative. There is an unpredictable quality about the repeated structures that is fascinating.) with the formalized chaos of Xenakis. The orchestra is electronically amplified and detuned, along with four detuned pianos. If at times, the work can veer a little too much in the direction of John Adams (section 4 sounds like it could be lifted from Harmonieleher) most of it remains distinctly original. The sense of steady pulse and rhythmic vitality make the work more accessible than much European avant-garde work, but the melodic and harmonic language of the work is decidedly more complex and challenging than anything written by the second or third generation minimlists like Nyman or Bryars. This is a work that deserves a hearing.
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Smart Cool Big New August 21, 2002
Format:Audio CD
This piece is only my second acquaintance with Gordon's music, after the title track on Bang on a Can's excellent album, Industry--another tune about dissolution, I suppose, and one of the best tracks on that disc. To describe the musical language of Decasia, I might ask you to imagine Penderecki's noisiest stuff--or Stockhausen's Helicopter string quartet--crossed with a hardcore instrumental groove from an unpretentious rock band, by way of the late minimalists. It's pretty unrelenting for the whole 67-minute length, but the climax is tremendous, well worth the investment of time and energy. I was struck, listening to the piece for the first time, by the feeling that I was hearing something completely new and, somehow, very important.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Terrifying June 9, 2005
Format:Audio CD
My oldest son, aged 11, likes to have the radio on quietly (classical music) as he sleeps at night. One night I had to get up to turn the level of his radio down - it was so loud. But my son was fast asleep. What was this music I wondered? Was it that famous Honneger piece about trains? When I returned to my bed I put my radio on (earpieces so I didn't disturb my wife) and listened to see what was being broadcast. It went on and on. It clearly wasn't Honneger. But what was it? Steve Reich? It didn't develop, although it did change from time to time - it persisted. Gradually I became overwhelmed by the music. Was it music at all? It terrorised me. I had to turn it off - I could listen no more. But then I had to go back - I had to find out what it was. But I could only listen with one earpiece - I couldn't stand this sound enveloping me totally. I was, of course, half asleep - perhaps far more sensitive than I might normally have been.

I did find the sound compelling - and still I heard train sounds - steam trains - and, perhaps huge factory machines. I'm not sure about decay. But be warned, you, like me, might be terrorised as I was - enormously unsettled. Will I ever listen to it again? I am unsure. But it is certainly not something I will forget in a hurry.
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