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Stories - Berio and Friends (Theatre of Voices/Paul Hillier) Hybrid SACD, SACD

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1. A-Ronne
2. Story
3. The Turtle Assymetries
4. Not a Soul But Ourselves
5. As I Was Saying
6. Stripsody

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 2 reviews
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Excellent compilation of mid-20th century avant-garde vocal works 4 Dec 2011
By G.C. - Published on
Format: Audio CD
For those who recall the work of John Cage and the rough-mid 20th century era of then avant-garde music, this album is for you. The 6 works on this CD cover the period from 1940, John Cage's "Story", to 1980, Sheldon Frank's "As I Was Saying". One could almost describe these works as "word sound collages", since much of the content throughout the works sound more like rhythmic speaking than "music" in perhaps the old school, 19th-century sense that most concert hall listeners are used to. Yet there's a quirky, perhaps more "carefree" spirit as well in the shorter works from Cage, Mac Low, Frank and Berberian. In particular, Cathy Berberian's "Stripsody" incorporates comic strip-like phrases (hence the work's title) that are reminiscent of Charles Schulz's "Peanuts" characters. The other two works are more self-consciously elaborate, Berio's "A-Ronne" being the longest work on the album, and Marsh's "Not A Soul But Ourselves" which sets a passage from James Joyce's "Finnegans Wake".

The ensemble Theatre of Voices does excellent work throughout the album, under the direction of Paul Hillier. I should note that not all the singers take part in all the works, where credits are divided up accordingly in the booklet. If I understand the credits correctly, Hillier does solo work in the Sheldon Frank work, which sounds like only one person/voice doing it.

Also, just as an FYI for those with sensitivities to anything that might be rated "R", in the Cage, at one point, the collisions and morphings of words leads to the sudden appearance of one of George Carlin's 7 dirty words that one can't say on the radio. This particular word is not indicated in the text in the liner notes, but it appears twice. Forewarned is forearmed, FWIW.
Time-capsule 28 Mar 2014
By Terrence S. Johnson - Published on
Format: Audio CD Verified Purchase
This is entertaining. It is also a time capsule of mid-20th century experimental work stretching the boundaries of what music is.
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