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White Man Sleeps

Kronos Quartet , Charles Ives , Jon Hassell , Thomas Oboe Lee , Ornette Coleman , Ben Johnston , Bela Bartok , Kevin Volans Audio CD
3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)

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Audio CD, 1990 --  
Audio Cassette, 1988 --  

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Song Title Time Price
listen  1. White Man Sleeps #1 4:31Album Only
listen  2. Scherzo: Holding Your Own 1:23Album Only
listen  3. Pano da costa (Cloth from the Coast)19:21Album Only
listen  4. Morango... Almost a Tango 6:21Album Only
listen  5. Lonely Woman 3:07Album Only
listen  6. Amazing Grace11:51Album Only
listen  7. White Man Sleeps #5 3:37Album Only
listen  8. String Quartet No. 315:30Album Only

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For nearly four decades, the Kronos Quartet—David Harrington, John Sherba (violins), Hank Dutt (viola), and Jeffrey Zeigler (cello)—has pursued a singular artistic vision, combining a spirit of fearless exploration with a commitment to expanding the range and context of the string quartet. In the process, Kronos has become one of the most celebrated and influential groups of our ... Read more in Amazon's Kronos Quartet Store

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for 65 albums, photos, and 1 full streaming song.

Product Details

  • Performer: Kronos Quartet, Charles Ives, Jon Hassell, Thomas Oboe Lee, Ornette Coleman, et al.
  • Audio CD (October 25, 1990)
  • SPARS Code: DDD
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Nonesuch
  • ASIN: B000005IYJ
  • Average Customer Review: 3.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,513 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Editorial Reviews

Kronos's second Nonesuch record combines seemingly unrelated work into a fairly seamless whole. From the off-kilter jazz of Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman" to the strains of Bela Bartók's String Quartet No. 3, this is an album of blues-tinged music. Kevin Volans, the South African composer, lends the disc its title and its opening track, which melts hesitantly familiar folk melodies into a racing quartet. Volans's technique is not far removed from that of Bartók, more than 70 years his senior. Kronos slow the intonations of Bartók's quartet to about a minute and a half longer than the Emerson Quartet's take--long enough to contribute to a kind of defamiliarization. Speaking of which, Ben Johnston's arrangement of "Amazing Grace" is what makes this CD a real keeper. He tests the mettle of this beloved melody by playing it against itself in numerous different ways, and the tune never succumbs to the tinkering. --Marc Weidenbaum

Customer Reviews

3.3 out of 5 stars
3.3 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice discoveries, especially Hassell and Johnston July 18, 2010
Format:Audio CD
Let's start with the carp: no liner notes (at least in my copy, which must date from when the disc was originally released, back in 1987). OK, sure, let the music speak for itself without any preconceived ideas (maybe that was the rationale behind this apparent stinginess), but still: after listening to the music, I would have liked to know more about the pieces and composers. For instance, I thought I remembered a Ben Johnston as one of the main proponents of micro-tonal music, but that did not seem to stick with the composer who apparently wrote an arrangement of "Amazing Grace". Well, that's the Ben Johnston alright, and "Amazing Grace" is not exactly an arrangement of the old Christian Hymn. That's the way it starts, and Johnston makes it sound almost like Japanese music. It is sweet, not what you'd expect from a disciple of Harry Partch and a fervent advocate of "just intonation" systems. But after circa 4 minutes it grows more intricate and vehemently lyrical, with wonderful sonic invention, while retaining its great melodic appeal. The micro-tonal Johnston can be recognized in the unusual and sensuous melodies, with some vaguely Gipsy sounding flourishes. Makes me want to catch up with the music of Johnston and especially his other String Quartets (Ben Johnston String Quartets).

Jon Hassels's "Pano da Costa" ("Cloth from the Coast", title unexplained) is also a very fine work (and, at 19:21, the longest on the CD) and I had never heard of the composer.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Re-visiting the Kronos Quartet's "White Man Sleeps" December 28, 2012
By jt52
Format:Audio CD
I first got to know this CD right after its release in 1987 and went back to it with fond memories, curious to see how it fares after a quarter century. The summary answer is that it bears up very well, testifying to the Kronos' performance level and their aptitude for commissioning and selecting interesting music. One of the interesting things about the musical selection is hearing how the minimalist or post-minimalist style of the compositions and arrangements from the 1980s seem to fall into a spectrum ranging from popular music to sleeker, consonant minimalism to more modernist, dissonant pieces. Minimalism accommodates much variety under its tent.

My three favorite tracks are Thomas Oboe Lee's "Morango" tango - attractive and enticing from ths first listening - an arrangement of jazz artist Ornette Coleman's "Lonely Woman", its bending melody and exciting accompaniment bent almost into a Slavic piece, and the Kronos' superb and very expressive performance of Bela Bartok's 3rd quartet, which concludes "White Man Sleeps" with a look back to early 20th century modernist music.

Kevin Volans is represented by two minimalist essays, part of his "White Man Sleeps" series. I think they continue to be attractive without being great music. US jazz trumpeter Jon Hassell provides the longest single composition here, "Pano de Costa" (Cloth from the Coast), commissioned by the Kronos. "Pano" is minimalist in that it is contructed from blocks of thematic and rhythmic material that are insistently and persistently developed in repetitive patterns, with the composer then abruptly transitioning to a new block of material.
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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent June 10, 2008
Format:Audio CD
This Bartok quartet # 3 is superior to the grammy winning Emerson Quartet rendition(I also own) both artistically & technically(sound recording/reproduction).
This is an emotionally bright, joyful CD.
The ONLY problem is deciding which tracks to skip if your listening time only permits 30-45 minutes.
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