What makes this CD so pitiful is that the composer is “highly skilled” and can do elaborate things.
It interests me to find out where the error arises. Part of the problem is that the composer is so “full of feeling”. Fuck off with your feelings and write me some music already! He’s a bit of a preacher too. Well, I’m that as well, so I shouldn’t complain. Surely the main error has to with text – not understanding that music already has a “text” before you set it to a text. So he chucks together folk influences, with Expressionist ones, with blazing triadic chords for any mention of God, with Gregorian chant. Well there’s lots more stuff, but I can’t be bothered to list it all. The point is that these sources are already “texts” – I mean they speak of a certain world, they ARE a certain world.
Why are they here? Because of the words he is setting, that is why. He’s using style asmadigalisms. You know, Gregorian chant for calm and peace, modernist dissonance for pain and misery. Practically anything goes into this composer’s melting pot. But it doesn’t result in Stravinsky’s Octet. Stravinsky was able to set a fire under his pot as well as chuck stuff in it.
The composer – let me give him a name: Comrade Buffoon – makes a really unwise move at one point – quoting, or imitating, some gorgeous Renaissance chordal progressions. So that makes everything else he has set next to it sound like irritating bits of rubbish. After a busy day in a museum, there must be similar fag ends and old tea bags lying around that need cleaning up.
Is it any wonder I prefer to listen to Madonna, when I want to hear new vocal music? There you have a solid musical structure and, even with her “five notes”, some vocal interest too.