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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Ethereal, 31 Dec. 2013
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Sordel (United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shir Hashirim (Audio CD)
Shir Hashirim is the Songs Of Songs (better known in English as the Song Of Solomon) so you might expect from the title and the cover that this release would fall at the "fleshly" end of Zorn's work. Fortunately panting and sighs are not amongst the sounds required of this vocal ensemble: instead we have a beautiful, rather restrained, textless choral sequence flawlessly executed by the singers.

The vocal quintet here came together to perform Frammenti del Sappho on 2005's Mysterium album and Zorn has worked with them over time (either in this configuration or others), honing his own compositional language just as they have developed their performing experience with him. The main influences here are Hildegard von Bingen and Meredith Monk. Though the quirkier end of Monk's work is not particularly in evidence here, minimalist arpeggios are often present, giving the piece a consonant feel. Ideas flow elegantly, with the virtuosity of performance reflected as much in the purity of the sound as in its extraordinary precision and control.

This disc is short at half an hour (something made only the more regrettable since Zorn has other vocal works yet to be recorded and released) but the work and recording are significant enough that Shir Hashirim still merits purchase. It's one of Zorn's most enjoyable classical discs and one of those Zorn albums that could really be appreciated by virtually any listener.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mystical Minimalism, 11 Jan. 2014
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Mr. Warren M. Fisher (East Grinstead, West Sussex United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Shir Hashirim (Audio CD)
I was lucky enough to hear this work as part of the Zorn 60th Birthday concert at the Barbican. It won't be to all tastes (the jazz bore sitting next to me certainly wasn't a fan, holding forth on this and every topic), but if you are, like me, a devoted Minimalist, you'll love this ethereal masterpiece.
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Shir Hashirim
Shir Hashirim by John Zorn (Audio CD - 2013)
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