If surrealism might steal into your thoughts from the title alone, you
are in the right zone, although nothing here is clear cut. I am intrigued
by the concept, of which a bit more listening and thinking serves to configure
the plan. This is 'celebration' from diverse musical sources: natural sounds,
musical sounds - pure and electronic - and some of it subject to stages
of distortion, although not suffering the extremes that turn some of these
phantasies into nightmares, as much for listeners as performers.
For a single CD the range of sounds as much as the treatment by six composers
in 'landscapes' is vast. Nothing is obvious, either in material or treatment.
The composers between them cover much of the disparate territory that todays
armoury of possibilities can yield in ideas and techniques to shape them.
They include Alan Hovhaness, who died recently, Phillip Kent Bimstein, William
Grant Still, Virko Baley, Mark Phillips, and the jazz composer, Yusef Lateef.
Foremost in this striking project is Stephen Caplan, a highly gifted
oboist, who has masterminded it all and surmounts the playing challenge
with apparent ease. He sums up the purpose and the implicit challenge to
listeners: 'Composers use their eyes for hearing. Listen to their music
and begin to see with your ears' [Listen - track 1,
Copyright © 5 July 2000
Basil Ramsey, Eastwood, Essex, UK
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