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The BQE

Sufjan StevensAudio CD
4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)

Price: $18.24 & FREE Shipping on orders over $35. Details
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Audio CD, 2009 $18.24  
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Music

Image of album by Sufjan Stevens

Photos

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Biography

Sufjan Stevens mixes autobiography, religious fantasy, and regional history to create folk songs of grand proportions. A preoccupation with epic concepts has motivated two state records (Michigan & Illinois), an electronic album for the animals of the Chinese zodiac (Enjoy Your Rabbit), a five-disc Christmas box set (Songs for Christmas), and, more recently, a programmatic tone poem with ... Read more in Amazon's Sufjan Stevens Store

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for 14 albums, 6 photos, discussions, and more.

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The BQE + All Delighted People + Seven Swans
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Product Details

  • Audio CD (October 20, 2009)
  • Original Release Date: 2009
  • Number of Discs: 2
  • Label: Asthmatic Kitty
  • ASIN: B002N1AEAA
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (16 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #53,429 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. Prelude on the Esplanade
2. Introductory Fanfare for the Hooper Heroes
3. Movement I In the Countenance of Kings
4. Movement II Sleeping Invader
5. Interlude I Dream Sequence in Subi Circumnavigation
6. Movement III Linear Tableau with Intersecting Surprise
7. Movement IV Traffic Shock
8. Movement V Self-Organizing Emergent Patterns
9. Interlude II Subi Power Waltz
10. Interlude III Invisible Accidents
11. Movement VI Isorhythmic Night Dance with Interchanges
12. Movement VII (Finale) The Emperor of Centrifuge
13. Postlude Critical Mass

Editorial Reviews

Sufjan Stevens is proud to present The BQE, a cinematic suite inspired by the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway and the Hula-Hoop. Commissioned by Brooklyn Academy of Music (BAM), The BQE was originally performed in the Howard Gilman Opera House in celebration of the 25th anniversary Next Wave Festival in October of 2007. Comes as CD/DVD package.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quite impressive October 25, 2009
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I love this guy and have all his previous releases. This release has his trademark style but is quite a departure being an instrumental soundtrack to a short film. I might classify it's overall style as modern classical.

From what I glean from the video, the film was commissioned (?) by the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It is quite stunning. It is shot as 3 frames across the screen. At first I found this a bit disconcerting, but after a short while was fully absorbed in it. As the title indicates, it is an examination of the BQE from the road itself to the surrounding neighborhoods and streets. Starting with shots of the neighborhoods, it gradually builds, moving into scenes of and on the road itself. One scene which is tracked from the drivers point of view at high speed is exhilerating. It ends with some beautiful visuals of abstract lights and colors. Interspersed with the BQE scenes are 3 women playing with hula hoops, which may sound silly but is not. Some of these short interludes also feature very abstract, impressionistic filming. Overall, I appreciated and got a true feel for the BQE and it's surrounds as a living organism. The film demands repeated viewings, and I did not realize Sufjan was such an accomplished filmmaker. Be aware this is on the impressionistic "artsy" side which is fine by me.

As for the music, with lyrics this might not seem such a radical departure from his past efforts, but it is different. When listening to the music while watching the film I was very much reminded of Philip Glass or Steve Reich, though not as minimalist. The songs are orchestrated, and vary in style and dynamics. Some feature piano in the front, a couple trumpets and horns, and a couple more a music box (I think? lovely tinkling whatever it is).
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11 of 13 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Just follow this brilliant artist and enjoy October 25, 2009
Format:Audio CD
I saw the BQE performance at the Brooklyn Academy. I am very jaded due to my musical background and experiences. It takes something unique to move my emotional meter into the tears range. This did it over and over again with each delight presenting itself, one after the other. You wondered what would be next. Then came the Super Hoopers near the end of the performance. Stunningly appropriate and purposeful. Turned the night on its head. I think anyone with an ear to what music can be again, after we've come through this desert of samples and hand claps might both enjoy and respect this.

Sufjan continues to amaze me. He has his fun and you can feel it all over you listening to his compositions. If this is how you start out in composing serious music, then what will we be lucky to hear down the road. I hope we get to hear more from him for a long, long time. We deserve it and he deserves us to pay attention. And you serious classical types, who might be sniffing their noses like Sigourney Weaver's cellist boyfriend in Ghostbusters. Just be thankful that someone with access to the resources has taken the time to try to honor your profession with something new that will reach a wider audience and maybe get them listening to other works by those that inspired both Sufjan and yourselves.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An Instrumental Soundtrack October 20, 2009
Format:Audio CD
I downloaded this soundtrack today from a subscription music site. I did not get to see the DVD, and I can tell after listening to this that the visual aspect is not just a nicety, but essential to this performance. I did enjoy the album, but it may not be for every Soof-yon fan.

I think Sufjan is one of the best lyricists around, since this is instrumental I certainly missed hearing lyrics with the music. The album has ups and downs that at times made me feel like I was in a room with a VCR playing an old Disney movie... if I had the DVD this is meant to come with I'd like to think I would be visualizing an NYC expressway instead. That being said, this has as undeniable sound that is Sufjan.

If you are the type that casually enjoys listening to classical music or instrumental soundtracks you may very well enjoy this release. I feel it is a bit fuller than Run Rabbit Run. If you are looking for the next studio follow up on par with Illinoise or Michigan this is not quite it. It has been a while since we have heard much studio work from Sufjan. Considering how busy he was in the early part of the decade compared to now I am starting to wonder if I should start saving up for a 47 disc box set...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not what you would expect from Sufjan September 2, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Listen, if you're expecting this album to be anywhere even NEAR the ballpark of Sufjan's other work's of art, DON"T BUY THIS ALBUM!!! If you have an open mind and you are willing to embrace some amazing, vocal-less, orchestrated arrangements that are meant to go along with his indie film, then by all means, BUY THIS ALBUM.

Very refreshing. Thanks, Sufjan, for embracing your talent on all levels.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A journey through American classical music June 11, 2010
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
I have enjoyed most of Sufjan Stevens albums, often for quite different reasons. The BQE album is no different. Listening to it was like taking a journey through American 20th century classical music, I kept hearing elements of Copland, Grofé, Ives, Bernstein, Gershwin & Glass coming through. Stevens has not copied their works but created an original piece that seems to pay homage to the greats of American classical music.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Hubby loves it
No complaints here. Typical Sufjan Stevens style. My husband loves all his albums. This one is especially interesting because of the history behind the BQE.
Published 5 months ago by TheMrs.R
5.0 out of 5 stars Loved it!
I got this as a Birthday present for my friend and he said that he absolutely loves it! I'm totally satisfied.
Published 17 months ago by Bailey Argyle
4.0 out of 5 stars The Spaces Between the Words
It's a fascinating exercise when an artist elects to focus on one gift at the expense of another. If you have heard either of Sufjan Steven's classic works, Come on Feel the... Read more
Published on October 3, 2011 by Kelly P. Clark
5.0 out of 5 stars New Take
i had only listened to Come On Feel the Illinoise and the album about Michigan (sorry don't know the actual title) and I was comepletely blown away by how talented him and his band... Read more
Published on November 24, 2010 by Timothy
1.0 out of 5 stars Sufjan is a Good Songwriter Who Should Stick to Songs
Sufjan Stevens is a great songwriter. I love his songs. That said, he should stick to his songwriting career. Read more
Published on September 4, 2010 by Mingus
5.0 out of 5 stars Exquisite Film/Music
This album is incredible. People have complained that it's too repetitive, which may be the case, but I really enjoyed the film. Read more
Published on January 30, 2010 by D. Vickers
5.0 out of 5 stars How astonishing
UP to now, I've had a hard time describing Sufjan's musical style to others, but settled for: "folksy, blue grassy, with classical riffs. Read more
Published on December 16, 2009 by Todd Wysuph
5.0 out of 5 stars Sufjan Stevens Does It Again!!!! :-D
Customer Video Review
Length: 1:50 Mins
Published on December 3, 2009 by Lesser Knowns
5.0 out of 5 stars A Roadway Melody
The brief Prelude misleads you by setting a tone of repetitive roadway sounds, but even it becomes more interesting upon close listening. Read more
Published on December 1, 2009 by Dubtex
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic is born
I have just listened and viewed this album. Sufjan Stevens is a truly gifted person. I was able to get this CD/DVD sent to Australia with shipping cheaper than any place I have... Read more
Published on December 1, 2009 by S. Patten
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