Avant-Garde, Modern Composition

Album Review

This wildly ambitious project for solo voice, choir (where everyone has either a solo or soloistic role), piano (Weston), and percussion is among the most beautiful and profound works in modern music. These two composers, Minton and Weston, worked together on a commission to create a piece for (at that time) a male voice choir. This was abandoned and the present work (written between 1989-1990) commenced. Deforming this work is almost impossible: The unusual inclusion of a large baritone section in the choir created numerous possibilities, not only vocally for Minton to utilize, but contrapuntally for Weston to make use of. All elemental structures of jazz are left behind here. Ever present are early baroque tenets and modern improvisational nuances. In this one long work, one section ends and another is either begun at its end or overlaps it, consuming it in full. Minton is at the top of his form as a singer; he weaves a golden web of silken history where cultural and historical antecedents are touched upon but enveloped in his silvery tenor. The choir carries him through and through, up and down the adventuresome score, traveling from China to Vietnam en masse. This is music as power -- emotional, political, structural, and even economic -- as it is the power of a noise to generate forces such as memory, anger, sadness, grief, rage, joy, and transcendence. And then there is the use of silence in the recording process, where the breaks in the recording (the spaces from selection to selection) take place, breaking up each section seemingly in the middle -- so much so that at times the listener will wonder if there is something wrong with the CD player! But this is strategic in this hypnotic wonder of a work. All traces of cynicism and postmodern insider strategy are left behind here. This is a work that is accessible because of its quark strangeness and charm. It is a brilliant composition that should be performed by the finest vocal ensembles in the world.
Thom Jurek, Rovi

Track Listing

  1. Prologue
  2. Vocal Improvisation-Jo Truman
  3. Antidote
  4. Vocal Improvisation-Cleveland Watkins
  5. Morning
  6. Vocal Improvisation/Maggie Nicols
  7. Duet for Piano (Veryan Wilson) And Voice (Phil Minton): A) on ...)
  8. Vocal Improvisation-Norma Winestone
  9. Vocal Improvisation-Elise Lorraine
  10. Noon-Solo Voice: A) Phil Minton B) Harvey Brough C) Liane Carroll
  11. Afternoon-Solo Voice: A) Phil Minton B) Sylvia Hallett B) Maggie ...)
  12. Twilight-Solo Voice-Melanie Pappenheim
  13. A Milestone
  14. Evening: A) Solo Voice-Phil Minton B) Duet Vocal Improvisation ...)
  15. First Page of the Diary
  16. Goodbye to a Tooth
  17. Vo Bey Day
  18. Epilogue