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  • On Cold Mountain: Songs on Poems of Gary Snyder
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On Cold Mountain: Songs on Poems of Gary Snyder

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Audio CD, March 29, 2011
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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. Like a Passing RiverKaren Clark 4:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  2. Wrecked TownKaren Clark 5:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  3. For Nothing: I. -Karen Clark 1:55$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  4. For Nothing: II. -Karen Clark 4:22$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  5. For Nothing: III. -Karen Clark 4:36$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  6. This Bubble of a HeartKaren Clark12:09Album Only
listen  7. For All: I. Milton by FirelightKaren Clark 4:26$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  8. For All: II. Cold Mountain SongsKaren Clark 4:15$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen  9. For All: III. For the WestKaren Clark 3:34$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen10. For All: IV. Spel Against DemonsKaren Clark 6:19$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen11. For All: V. As for PoetsKaren Clark 5:38$0.99  Buy MP3 
listen12. For All: VI. For AllKaren Clark 4:28$0.99  Buy MP3 

Product Details

  • Audio CD (March 29, 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Innova
  • ASIN: B004KDO2A2
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #11,931 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dr. Debra Jan Bibel TOP 500 REVIEWER on April 5, 2011
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
With this album, Gary Snyder has joined the ranks of poets whose works have been put to music, such as Walt Whitman and Emily Dickinson and the German Romantics, although for the most part here it is Snyder's unique translation and paraphrasing of ancient Chinese poet Han Shan. These modern works are performed by vocalist Karen Clark and the Galax Quartet [David Wilson; Elizabeth Blumenstock; David Morris; Roy Whelden], which includes a viola de gamba, artists who usually favor early and Baroque music. Together, they produce a sound of great sensitivity and nuance. The first of Roy Whelden's Two Songs from Cold Mountain has the beautiful cast of a 19th-century American folk tune from Appalachia, particularly through the quartet's instrumental weaving. The second piece captures the darkness and sadness of death and silence and ruins, the descending glissandos put to great effect. Fred Frith's For Nothing brings forth the simplicity and emotional directness of a Zen haiku, with short song phrases and instrumental responses. There is a shimmering of light, external and within. The Bubble of A Heart, by Robert Morris, consists of three poems: the first is mysterious, sketchy, and ethereal; the mood continues with the brief second poem, but I believe that the composer missed the animalistic aspects; the last poem, a description of perceptions of the enlightened mind, also fails musically, as it is stuck in emptiness and inaction. A radical shift follows with W. A. Mathieu's contribution. This is purely contemporary Gary Snyder in his own Sierra Nevada mountains. Han Shan next returns; however, the music is more bright and flowing. The spirit seems free, without intellectual pretense.Read more ›
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Cindy on July 12, 2011
Format: Audio CD
I was raised on classical music and developed my own tastes at a young age, leaning toward early and choral music. In general, I find late Romantic too heavily ornamented and contemporary too spare.

The Galax Quartet's "On Cold Mountain" is intelligent and engaging without the pretensions of mid-century music. The instrumentation is spare, but not overly so, providing structure and brush strokes for the work without getting in the way of the story. The first two pieces are Roy Whelden's compositions and what a delight they are, evocative and melodious. All of the music is cast in this mold, but Whelden's work stands out. Karen Clark's voice is a wonder, the colors she applies invite repeated listening to catch her nuanced expressions and to marvel at her exquisite control.

The choice of compositions and their presentation make "On Cold Mountain" a coherent collection of contemporary work, and the recording is clean and bright. This work will stand the test of time.
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By John Bolinger on July 28, 2013
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
Contralto Karen Clark, and the Galax Quartet have succeeded in blending nature, music, and poetry in this exquisite recording of songs set to poetry of Gary Snyder (Pulitzer Prize for Poetry, 1975).

The immediacy of the recording's magic brightens or soothes the spirit with each selection through direct appeal to the senses from superb musicianship of the entire ensemble, and in particular from Ms. Clark in her deep and sensitive understanding of the words themselves, to which she brings everything from bright flashes of sunlight to those creamy, contralto tones, as rich and dark as Russian sable. Not since the unforgettable intonation and depth of contralto, Lili Chookasian, have I heard such a compelling voice.

Gary Snyder's poetry is a blend of everything from the Beat generation to Buddhism, set to music skillfully and lovingly by gifted composers, and performed as though through a connection to the very heartbeats of the talented performers. To call these pieces mere art songs would be selling them short. They are indeed works of art, but we become part of them as we listen to and enjoy them. Bravo to Gary Snyder, the composers, the Galax Quartet, and especially to Karen Clark, contralto.
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