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Fred - Rzewski: Pocket Symphony, Etc / Eighth Blackbird


Release Date: 06/28/2005 
Label:  Cedille Records   Catalog #: 84   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Molly Alicia BarthLisa KaplanMatthew DuvallNicholas Photinos,   ... 
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Number of Discs: 1 
Recorded in: Stereo 
Length: 0 Hours 59 Mins. 

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Notes and Editorial Reviews

It's really good to have a disc of Frederic Rzewski's instrumental music, even if two of the works recorded here are arrangements (authorized by the composer). Les Moutons de Panurge is a rambunctious game of counting sheep--a melody that grows by adding a note on each repetition, with the process then reversed, all at high speed. This gives the work a certain minimalist aspect, and it's brilliantly played by the sextet Eighth Blackbird, whose performances always represent just about the last word in virtuosity. Coming Together is a setting of a letter by Sam Melville written from Attica prison just before the famous inmate uprising. Rzewski is one of the few composers who can make the combination of spoken words and music really worth Read more hearing, and this piece is no exception. The actual text is spaced out at large intervals over the course of the work, and the result makes you want to listen to what comes next. It doesn't strike you as someone talking too much over music that you can't hear as well as you want to.


Pocket Symphony was written for Eighth Blackbird. In six brief movements, it runs the stylistic gamut from easy lyricism and tonal, dance-like movement, to an enigmatic conclusion making all sorts of "modern" sounds. There's even a touch of Jew's harp, à la George Crumb. For the record, the piece is scored for flutes, clarinets, violin, cello, percussion, and piano, and the range of color that Rzewski finds in this theoretically restrictive format really is amazing. The sonics are absolutely state of the art, and the only thing that prevents me from giving this recording the highest rating is the fact that the combination of words and music (in Coming Together) and the more difficult sections of the Pocket Symphony will not be to every listener's taste. Still, with entertaining notes featuring the players in conversation with the composer, this is as finely conceived a tribute as I can imagine to one of the most interesting and worthwhile figures in contemporary music today. [9/12/2005]
--David Hurwitz, ClassicsToday.com Read less

Works on This Recording

1. Pocket Symphony by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Molly Alicia Barth (Flute), Lisa Kaplan (Piano), Matthew Duvall (Percussion),
Nicholas Photinos (Cello), Michael J. Maccaferri (Clarinet), Matt Albert (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 2000 
Venue:  Northeastern Illinois University, Chicag 
Length: 27 Minutes 38 Secs. 
Notes: Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago (07/14/2003 - 07/17/2003) 
2. Les moutons de panurge by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Michael J. Maccaferri (Clarinet), Lisa Kaplan (Piano), Matthew Duvall (Percussion),
Matt Albert (Violin), Molly Alicia Barth (Flute), Nicholas Photinos (Cello)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1969 
Date of Recording: 10/28/2004 
Venue:  Northeastern Illinois University, Chicag 
Length: 11 Minutes 38 Secs. 
3. Coming Together by Frederic Rzewski
Performer:  Lisa Kaplan (Piano), Michael J. Maccaferri (Clarinet), Nicholas Photinos (Cello),
Matt Albert (Spoken Vocals), Matthew Duvall (Percussion), Molly Alicia Barth (Flute),
Matt Albert (Violin)
Orchestra/Ensemble:  Eighth Blackbird
Period: 20th Century 
Written: 1972; USA 
Venue:  Northeastern Illinois University, Chicag 
Length: 18 Minutes 51 Secs. 
Language: English 
Notes: Arranger: Matt Albert.
Northeastern Illinois University, Chicago (07/14/2003 - 07/17/2003) 

Sound Samples

Pocket Symphony: I. A
Pocket Symphony: II. B
Pocket Symphony: III. C
Pocket Symphony: IV. D
Pocket Symphony: V. E
Pocket Symphony: VI. F
Les Moutons de Panurge
Coming Together

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