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Mary Ann Joyce-walter: Immortal Diamond

Joyce-walter / Lande / St. Petersburg State Orch
Release Date: 01/13/2015 
Label:  Ravello   Catalog #: 7900   Spars Code: DDD 
Composer:  Mary Ann Joyce-Walter
Conductor:  Vladimir Lande
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra
Number of Discs: 1 
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Works on This Recording

Immortal Diamond by Mary Ann Joyce-Walter
Conductor:  Vladimir Lande
Orchestra/Ensemble:  St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra

Customer Reviews

Average Customer Review:  1 Customer Review )
 Mahler for the modern audience February 20, 2015 By mary s. See All My Reviews "By Ashley on February 1, 2015 Format: Audio CD Composer Mary Ann Joyce-Walter has once again delivered music that stirs both the mind and the soul. The release of this work, Immortal Diamond, could not have arrived at a more meaningful time, as we face once again the ugliness of racial oppression in America. Immortal Diamond is a provocative homage to Martin Luther King, Jr. that urges listeners to reconcile the texts and tenets of Christian faith with the mass injustices perpetrated in its presence. Through her own unique (even brazenly unorthodox) setting of the Passion, Mary Ann Joyce-Walter juxtaposes the life, death, and resurrection of Christ against the American struggle for civil rights and its own Messiah. A sort of symphonic oratorio that unapologetically fuses echoes of Bach, Handel, and Mahler, one is reminded of the Resurrection Symphony both in genre and in content. The work's Biblical text sources pull at delicate strings in the listener's own societal memory and demonstrate the narrative commonalities between messianic martyrs Christ and King. Musically, the listener is both engaged and challenged, at once spellbound and unsettled. It is not a piece that endeavors to accommodate or indulge the listener. Rather, it grabs the listener by the shoulders and shakes them into a jarring consciousness. Mary Ann Joyce-Walter connects all human suffering, sacrifice, and life after death through these universal texts and ideas that transcend the boundaries of race, faith, and even time. All throughout, she does so with intricate rhythmic and harmonic structures and masterfully woven instrumental lines and orchestrations. The textures vary between eerie sparseness and alarming density: delicate winds and pitched percussion, strong and strident brass, and strings so subtle they seem to enter unnoticed. In the midst of all this, vocal parts disorient the listener with a blend of traditional lyricism and poignant recitation. Woodwinds frequently enter alone and exposed, not unlike martyrs themselves, and are often aggressively opposed by the metaphorical masses of dissonantly blaring brass. She employs percussion with impressive versatility, at times using it to convey the militaristic opposition to justice, at other times highlighting afterthoughts of other instrument groups. Immortal Diamond will not coddle you, nor will it leave you feeling pleasantly entertained. It will rattle you and demand that you awaken to the injustice around you. In today's world, this music is a shocking necessity and a brilliant complement to the social justice movements sweeping our country. Just like the protestors marching across our nation, Immortal Diamond stands in the way of passive contentedness and forces the listener to acknowledge the evils in our world. The music does not rely on the superficial appeal of traditional beauty, nor does it allow its listeners to luxuriate in familiar musical comforts. It does not provide the pleasure of passive absorption, but forces one to listen actively at a time when so many are content to bury their heads in the musical sand. Immortal Diamond is not merely a piece of music -- it is a work of cultural consciousness, a weighty and substantial piece of art that invigorates the senses of sound, faith, and justice. Mary Ann Joyce-Walter is a titanic force in the new music realm, and certainly a fighter for justice in a field where many are often resigned to the cloisters of their own thoughts. She courageously brings her music out of the safety of academia and into the streets where it must be reckoned with. Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful Wow! By Jennifer M. Castellano on January 24, 2015 Format: Audio CD I first heard an excerpt of Joyce-Walter's Immortal Diamond on YouTube and found it very intriguing and wanted to hear how it would move from there. After listening to the CD, I found it to be quite a powerful and moving experience. Besides basing it on texts from the gospels, she incorporates more modern texts in the music as well and I thought it fit together so well. To me, it is more than just a depiction of Christ but of all those who, like Martin Luther King (who was a source of inspiration for the work) are following that path of light and truth. This becomes evident in the line taken from Gerard Hopkins's That Nature is a Heraclitean Fire and of the comfort of the Resurrection - "I am all at once what Christ is, Since he was what I am. And this jack, joke, poor potsherd, patch, matchwood, immortal diamond." Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful Immortal Diamond is an initiation! In the program notes ... By Nancy Ellen Ogle on January 20, 2015 Format: Audio CD Immortal Diamond is an initiation! In the program notes, the composer describes how this music was inspired by the tragic death of Martin Luther King Jr. Seeing Christ in him and relying on formal elements of Bach's St. Matthew's Passion, Dr. Joyce-Walter has created an inward journey. Her use poetic texts of Yeats and Hopkins is exquisite. Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No 1 of 1 people found the following review helpful Immortal Diamond is a fine work by Dr By David Noel on January 26, 2015 Format: Audio CD Immortal Diamond is a fine work by Dr. Joyce and the St. Petersburg State Symphony Orchestra. Joyce-Walter was able to pull from the works of literary giants (Eliot, Hopkins, Frost and Yeats) to commemorate Dr. King and ultimately Jesus the Christ by sharing the Gospel - Jesus' death, resurrection and the believers salvation." Report Abuse
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