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Scott Johnson's 13 minutes long Soliloquy makes me think that I have an advantage in not being a native English speaker because the sense of music of the foreign language always remains (at least to me it does). The inherent music in one's own mother tongue with all its melody, rhythm and texture usually goes unnoticed. By using the short edited parts, or "loops", of I.F. Stone's lecture I feel Kronos does exactly that: brings out the music of the English language and accentuates it with their own instrumental backing. It's a functional and artistically justified method, I feel, justified by the beauty of the composition and the text itself.
One of the highlights of the CD is certainly Sofia Gubaidulina's Quartet No. 2. It brings a sense of eeriness and menace, maintaining the suspense, not unlike some of impressive and disturbing compositions of Krzysztof Penderecki. It would certainly quality as "musica non grata" to the totalitarian Soviet regime of the former USSR, Gubaidulina's country of birth.
John Oswald's Spectre is an experience for itself.Read more ›
And that leaves the five longer pieces, each one masterful in its own right, and adding to an amazing overall effect:
John Zorn's "Cat O' Nine Tails," in which he applies his quick change methodology to the string quartet to hilarious effect,
Steven Mackey's "Physical Property" for electric guitar and quartet, with stunning rhythms and textures,
Scott Johnson's "Soliloquy" featuring a tape of I.F. Stone, the radical journalist, who questions the persistence of barbarism and tribalism, and asks, "...is it necessary to repeat after 2,000 years all the things you people learned in Sunday school?! How -- how absent-minded -- how forgetful!",
Sofia Gubaidulina's "Quartet No. 2", a powerful and mystical meditation, and
Pandit Pran Nath's "Aba Kee Tayk Hamaree," with the voice of the North Indian master, and his disciple Terry Riley on tamboura, a reverent way to close, and the first chance for myself and many others, I'm sure, to hear him.
Of the Kronos releases I've heard, SHORT STORIES is the furthest out, with the least reference to the early 20th century, and the greatest risk-taking vis a vis the classical music establishment. It works! Fantastic!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Disturbing "music" which immediately gets your spirit off-balance and creates a dark, dystopian sensation. Read morePublished 14 months ago by aalex1
I don't think this disc could be worse. I have some other KQ & like what I've heard....up until now.Published 15 months ago by NbyNE
If you like adventurous music then this is an excellent pick, 75 minutes of interesting sound effects and rhythms. Read morePublished on December 6, 2005 by Redgecko
but it also impresses me how new music could possibly survive without fabulous recording and explosive effects.Published on December 10, 2003 by Rudolph Tang