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C4 Volume 1: Uncaged

Biggs / David / Ruo
Release Date: 10/08/2013 
Label:  Four-tay   Catalog #: 4038   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Hayes BiggsJonathan DavidKaren SiegelHuang Ruo,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4
Number of Discs: 1 
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Notes and Editorial Reviews

C4 VOL. 1: UNCAGED C4; Hannah Carr, cond; 1 David Harris, cond; 2 Timothy Brown, cond; 3 Daniel Andor-Ardó, cond; 4 Karen Siegel (s); 5 Elizabeth Denham (s); 6 Melissa Wozniak (mez); 6 ; 7 Read more Fahad Siadat (ten) 4TAY 4038 (36:55)

BIGGS 1 The Caged Skylark. DAVID 1,5 Stabat Mater. SIEGEL 2,6 Saguaro. RUO 3 Without Words. TWINING 2,7 Hee-oo-oom-ha. HEARNE 4 Privilege: We cannot leave

C4 is the performing name given to “The Choral Composer/Conductor Collective.” Comprising 23 singers who also compose (Hayes Biggs and Karen Siegel are both singers in the group as well as writers) and conduct (all four conductors are choral members), they pride themselves on performing new choral works “in a welcoming atmosphere.” This, then, seems to be the first of a projected series of albums featuring such works.

This is, quite simply, an amazing and excellent disc, featuring six new choral works conducted by various members of the group. The musical styles of the pieces are quite varied, ranging from somewhat traditional modern religious music (Jonathan David’s Stabat Mater ) to the eccentric Hee oo oom ha of Toby Twining, based on the music of the Ba Benzele pygmies and Tuvan throat singers but also employing repeated rhythms and overlapping vocal lines reminiscent of Meredith Monk.

Of the other pieces, Hayes Biggs’s The Caged Skylark attempts “to capture the frustration and impotent rage of the bird imprisoned” (possibly the position of PETA); Karen Siegel’s Saguaro was inspired by the landscape, history, and people of the desert around Tucson, Arizona; Huang Rho’s Without Words is based on a text by the last Tang dynasty emperor, Li Hou Zhu; and Ted Hearne’s “We Cannot Leave” from Privilege is set to a translation of a black South African anti-apartheid song. All of this music is interesting, well written, and exceptionally performed by this talented chorus. One of their chief virtues is that they do not produce a homogenous blend, but rather reveal a transparency which opens up the various lines of the music for the listener.

I found this disc so stunning and enjoyable that I felt rather disappointed by its very short playing time. Since it is designated Vol. 1, I am assuming that other discs are to follow, but for heaven’s sake give us an hour’s worth of music per disc! Still, this is a superb CD and this highly recommended.

FANFARE: Lynn René Bayley
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Works on This Recording

The Caged Skylark by Hayes Biggs
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4
Stabat Mater by Jonathan David
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4
Saguero by Karen Siegel
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4
Without Words by Huang Ruo
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4
Hee Oo Oom Ha by Toby Twining
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4
Privilege: We Cannot Leave by Ted Hearne
Orchestra/Ensemble:  C4

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