Here is a CD by a master played by masterful musicians. The first track, The Tempest (flute, clarinets and drums/percussion) is performed by the ICE: virtuosic musicians who know how to animate the piece. Free jazz drumming and classical are two artfully combined genres. There is a lovely, very English/European/court sounding scene which will delight diehard Shakespearean fans. Wonderful tension and excitement from the flute and clarinets playing through each other. It's a dialogue you will listen to repeatedly.
Tracks 2-4 comprise All Hallow's Eve (satanic counterpoint for the witches' sabbath). Those familar with esoterica, rituals and numbers will appreciate its mathematical structure. Musicians Chris Otto, David Fulmer and Jay Campbell will treat you to their intense, masterful performance. Listen closely to all the beautiful details you do not often hear from other composers which is makes Zorn's pieces distinct and fun to listen to. Each detail is important especially in relation to the subject matter. Think you can play this on your own instrument? I love how fast they can play the passages and suddenly move onto very slow tempos as if you're walking through a private ritual that you are spying on up close: trepidation, relaxation, etc.
Track 5 is The Temptations of St. Anthony performed by the Fifth House Ensemble. Imagine a day at the art museum of creations based on St. Anthony. Flute, English horn, clarinet, bassoon, French horn, piano, violin, viola, cello, bass. It opens with a warm note, quickly led by a family of instruments persuading you to tour the museum. "Supernatural demons" is even enough to make you follow them while listening to this piece.
Expand your imagination, appreciate the significance of the instruments, technique, structure and more. You should be able to want to research more on your own about everything Zorn writes about in his liner notes. Explore this CD with an open mind.
Design: This is on the elegant Composer Series, so it follows the beautiful format of the Composer Series. Often you will find a lot of his classical pieces here. You're still not going to find most CDs with metallic printing and elegant design. There is no lack of lavishness because the series itself is lavish: I would implore people to please do their homework first before commenting on the packaging without fully understanding this groundbreaking label.