White Man Sleeps
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
I will ship by EMS or SAL items in stock in Japan. It is approximately 7-14days on delivery date. You wholeheartedly support customers as satisfactory. Thank you for you seeing it.
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
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
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.
Ben Johnson's use of non-standard scale is represented by one of the few tracks not written expressly for the Kronos, a 11-minute set of variations on "Amazing Grace." Johnson's piece was maybe my least favorite track on this release. The trick with microtonal music - and I have heard some very beautiful examples - is to avoid having the music sound like it is being misplayed out of key and instead to bring the listener into a new, strange andmore varied musical environment. Johnson unfortunately doesn't pull the trick off here for me but I do respect the skill and inventiveness of his variations. There is also a short Ives arrangement.
Sound quality is pretty good. This continues to be a very good release.
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. After an opening of great tonal subtlety and mystery, full of pent-up menace, it develops tremendous energy and beat, to the point of fury, alongside moments of contemplation and meditation, in a style that pays tribute both to World music (the moments of repose unfold bluesy melodies that could be Gipsy - the 3rd violin sonata of Enescu comes to mind - but are probably inspired by Indian raga) and to repetitive music but is never trite harmonically and always inventive in tone color. Thanks to the people's processed free on-line encyclopedia, now I know that Hassell, born March 22, 1937, is an American trumpet player (a member of the ensemble that made the premiere recording of Riley's seminal In C in 1968) and composer, known for his influence in the world music scene (like Riley he studied North Indian Raga with Pandit Pran Nath) and his unusual electronic manipulation of the trumpet sound. As with Johnston, his quartet makes me want to hear more of his music (as if I didn't have enough of a backlog of things to hear already).
The arrangement (by Mel Graves, written for Kronos) of Ornette Coleman's Lonely Woman has a furious energy that makes it closer to Jimmy Hendrix than Jazz, with wild slides that seem to evoke the electric guitar as much as the saxophone. Thomas Oboe Lee's "Morango... almost a Tango" indeed starts like a slow and sad tango, but then becomes more vehemently lyrical with more flourishes given to the first violin. It is very typical of the kind of crossover music Kronos has become a champion of.
"White Man Sleeps" was published in 1987 and was one of the first CDs of Kronos with Elektra/Nonesuch, after their recording of the soundtrack of Glass' Mishima (Mishima: A Life In Four Chapters (1985 Film)) and of a collection with works of Sculthorpe (8th Quartet), Sallinen, Glass ("Company"), Nancarrow (1st Quartet) and and arrangement of Hendrix' Purple Haze (Kronos Quartet: Sculthorpe, Sallinen, Glass, Nuncarrow, Hendrix). It is the later Kronos disc "Pieces of Africa", recorded in 1992, that sent me back to this one. That later disc features the complete (five movements) "White Man Sleeps", the first String Quartet of Kevin Volans, written for Kronos. Why they played only two movements of the piece that gives its title to the earlier CD eludes me. Anyway, the omission is repaired in the later CD. It is a superb piece, although Volans wrote two even more beautiful string quartets for Kronos, "Hunting : Gathering" (No. 2) and Songlines (No. 3), although the ensemble recorded only the second:Kevin Volans: Hunting: Gathering (String Quartet No. 2) (1987) - Kronos Quartet. For the two, go to the Balanescu Quartet, a splendid recording: String Quartets 2 & 3.
I'll withold comments on the short Ives Scherzo and Bartok's 3rd Quartet. They don't need me to be recognized masterpieces, and I haven't done any comparative listening to allow me to assess the interpretive merits of Kronos. They are comparatively more difficult for the unprepared listener than the rest of the program - that's the way twentieth-century music evolved. Anyway the disc's appeal comes mainly from its discoveries - Hassell and Johnston foremost.
Aside from the lousy Bartok, the only piece of note (for me) was the Kevin Volans piece, which earns this album the lofty 3 stars I have given it. The other pieces seem to be largely filler, and are so unmemorable as to be forgotten as soon as they are finished. Definitely not one of Kronos' better efforts.
The other works on the disc are weak and easily forgettable (including the odd, somewhat cheesy Johnston arrangement), though the Volans is mildly entertaining. In short, don't waste your time or money on this recording.
Most recent customer reviews
I think this sight needs to prequalify submissions based upon age/occupation/salary...Read more