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  • Monk: Atlas - An Opera in Three Parts
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Monk: Atlas - An Opera in Three Parts Original recording reissued, Import


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Audio CD, Original recording reissued, Import, April 18, 2000
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Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

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


Disc 1:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - Overture (Out Of Body 1)Wilbur Pauley 3:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - Travel Dream SongDina Emerson 5:07$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  3. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - Home SceneWendy Hill 2:38$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - Future Quest (The Call)Wendy Hill11:15Album Only
listen  5. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - Rite Of Passage ARobert Een0:57$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - Choosing CompanionsMeredith Monk 7:44Album Only
listen  7. Monk: Atlas - Part 1: Personal Climate - AirportWilbur Pauley 9:19Album Only
listen  8. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Night TravelJames F. Wilson 3:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  9. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Guides' DanceChing Gonzalez 1:51$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Agricultural CommunityMeredith Monk14:36Album Only


Disc 2:

Samples
Song TitleArtist Time Price
listen  1. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Loss SongWendy Hill 4:14$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Campfire/Hungry GhostDana Hanchard 7:43Album Only
listen  3. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Father's HopeThomas Bogdan 1:13$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  4. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Ice DemonsWendy Hill 6:20$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  5. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Explorer #5/Lesson/Explorers' ProcessionDana Hanchard 6:04$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  6. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Lonely SpiritMeredith Monk 3:33$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen  7. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Forest QuestionsDana Hanchard10:19Album Only
listen  8. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Desert TangoDana Hanchard 7:52Album Only
listen  9. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Treachery (Temptation)Robert Een 2:11$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen10. Monk: Atlas - Part 2: Night Travel - Possibility Of DestructionMeredith Monk 2:46$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen11. Monk: Atlas - Part 3: Invisible Light - Out Of Body 2Wilbur Pauley 2:58$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen12. Monk: Atlas - Part 3: Invisible Light - Other Worlds RevealedMeredith Monk 1:28$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen13. Monk: Atlas - Part 3: Invisible Light - Explorers' JuncturesDana Hanchard 2:42$1.29  Buy MP3 
listen14. Monk: Atlas - Part 3: Invisible Light - Earth Seen From AboveMeredith Monk 7:34Album Only
listen15. Monk: Atlas - Part 3: Invisible Light - Rite Of Passage BRobert Een 1:42$1.29  Buy MP3 

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“Songs of Ascension” is a major new work from Meredith Monk. Written in 2008, and recorded in 2009 at New York’s Academy of Art and Letters, it is conceived as a continuous composition, a departure from Monk’s recent collaged or episodic works.

As Kyle Gann writes in the liner notes: “Meredith Monk’s been expanding into the worlds of orchestra and ... Read more in Amazon's Meredith Monk Store

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Product Details

  • Performer: Wayne Hankin, Allison Easter, Carlos Arevalo, Ching Gonzalez, Dana Hanchard, et al.
  • Conductor: Wayne Hankin
  • Composer: Meredith Monk
  • Audio CD (April 18, 2000)
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Format: Original recording reissued, Import
  • Label: Ecm Import
  • ASIN: B00000E56I
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #528,914 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com

Threading together Meredith Monk's various guises in the world of avant-garde performance art (from dance and mime to multimedia explorations) is her sensibility first and foremost as a composer, one who creates from the musical imagination's love of pattern and texture. And in Atlas, her full-length opera commissioned by Houston Grand Opera and premiered in 1991, Monk brings together several decades' worth of pioneering ways of expression. Yes, this is an opera involving almost no text and presenting a nonlinear, dreamlike collage in lieu of traditional narrative, but an opera all the same in the centrality of the human voice as the source and vehicle for conveying a dazzling multiplicity of states (Monk herself describes her use of the term "opera" to capture "the multiperceptual, mosaic form that I was envisioning.") Based quite loosely on the travel writings of Victorian adventurer Alexandra David-Neel, Atlas involves the journey of an Everywoman as an analog for spiritual questing, for a movement from the outer world to an inner, lost, or forgotten dimension. Monk's trademark work in "extended vocal technique" (work that links her with such other mavericks as Laurie Anderson and Joan La Barbara) is the basis for the opera's sound world, and she's trained her fellow cast members (Monk herself performs one of the three stages in the life of Atlas's heroine) to attain the remarkable flexibility required for its strangely beautiful, magnificently ranging variety of vocalise--from complex, microtonal, birdlike imitations to Tibetan chanting and quivering ululation. The repetitive, always slightly changing patterns of the melodic cells might be pigeonholed as "minimalism" (a term Monk, like Steve Reich, abjures), but this would be an unnecessary reduction for the fantastically original and appealing, rhythmically subtle, and unexpected fabrics that Monk weaves--with spare accompaniments by a chamber-size orchestra and the exotic colorings of glass harmonica. The booklet contains color photos of the original production--but even without the theatrical experience, Atlas comes through as a haunting and uniquely beautiful vision of the untapped possibilities of the lyrical stage. --Thomas May

Customer Reviews

3.0 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

11 of 11 people found the following review helpful By George Grella VINE VOICE on May 24, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Monk's "Atlas" is one of the important works of the later 20th century. It is an opera almost entirely without words, and those words in it are spare and enigmatic. Yet, even without the staging on hand, the narrative comes through in the music and the vocalising. Her idea was simple, sincere and quite radical, and beautifully done.
The style of the music is very much the Minimalism of Philip Glass, not as complex harmonically, but the same sound world and style. It's very beautiful, and if Minimalist works appeal to you, as well as fascinating experimentation, than you should seek out this great piece.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Paul Carr on June 5, 2000
Format: Audio CD
Before listening to this work, you'd be well advised unburden youself of all the expectations implied by the words "opera" and "avant garde". It's theatrical, tells a story of sorts, and there's a great deal of singing, but it's very different from the usual notion of opera. The instrumental accompaniment is sparse, and mostly serves to keep time. There are few words, and almost all of them spoken (typical for Monk's work). It's not cold, sterile or academic. That aside, this is a strangely moving and beautiful work that will grow on you. You're unlikely to see it performed live, so this recording may be the only way you'll ever experience it. The extended vocal techniques work to a dramatic purpose, and there is a meaningful musical climax with some stunning ensemble singing. Well worth the price.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Kevin Currie-Knight TOP 1000 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on October 4, 2002
Format: Audio CD
As is clear below by the existence of 1 and 5 star reviews only, Meredith Monk is like most 'modern classical' composers. You're either going to love this or hate it. For my part, on first listen, I wasn't sure which category I would fall.
First, I must confess that my bias has always been against opera. Composers of opera tend to butcher both the melody and libretto all in the name of an elusive drama that usually falls quite flat. That being said, if you are a fan of traditional opera a la Gluck, Verdi and Wagner, you will never like 'Atlas' which consists mostly of wordless vocalise over repeating patterns played by a 10 peice orchestra. The cast mimics animal noises, claps, screams, shrieks and orrates occasional gibberish.
In a strange way however, this is no different than hearing Stravinsky, Babbit or Glass for the first time. It takes a lot of work and, in a sense, we need to re-learn how to listen. Normally, we are used to hearing exposition, development, recapitulation, bel canto and leitmotif. With Monk, we don't get that but instead a continual rich vocal tapestry over magically floating chamber orchestra. Yes, it takes endurance but MAN is it worth it. In fact, 'future quest' (track 4) and 'Agricultural community" (track 10)contains some of the most beautiful vocal writing I've heard in some time.
A quick disclaimer about the comparisons below to Philip Glass. Monk's technique, especially in her syncopations and instrumental voicings using 4ths, 5ths and 9ths, I would put 'Atlas' closer to Steve Reich's 'Tehillem' and 'Different Trains.' Still, Monks vocal writing is incomparable and in a crazy way, gorgeous. Pick it up; love it, hate it, sing along if you dare. Just listen to it!!
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8 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Matthew T. Haley on April 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
I sadly wasted approximately 2 hours of my life listening to this sorely lacking "opera". I was not at all surprised to read in the notes that the score had never actually been written to the piece, but rather, Monk came to the studio with a few ideas and improvised much of the work. The tracks repeat endlessly without any meaningful development. Some of them contain nonsensical dialogue as well, which adds little to the opera's overall effect. Listen to the sample track "Ice Demons" for a good demonstration of ludicrous and pretentious composition. While I'm not a devoted fan of minimalism in general, I can at least enjoy it on occassion. In my opinion, some minimalist works like "Einstein on the Beach" by Philip Glass are far more sophisticated than Monk's opera and don't have the aggravating tendency to take themselves too seriously. Monk's overdramatic spiritual nonsense really gets on the nerves.
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4 of 19 people found the following review helpful By "razwee" on April 17, 2001
Format: Audio CD
Don't get me wrong. I like some of Meredith Monk's stuff (when she's not on some hallucinogen), but this is going to far. Plot, musical coherence, dramatism, take your pick--unfortunately, none of it is there. Experimentation is all well and good if you can pull it off at least with some minor hint of artistic expression, but Atlas is utterly nonsensical and way too repetitive to be considered a work of art. If, after hearing this, you are still brave enough to give Meredith Monk another try, check out Book of Days. It's much more musically coherent and much easier to grasp. It also, in my opinion, is a much better expression of Monk's continuing search to expand the capabilities of the human voice.
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