Wednesday, January 11, 2006



Another day, another annoying cold.  I took some of that new non-drowsy antihistamine to stop the faucets, but it’s left me feeling a bit on the floaty side.  Hopefully this review will be coherent in spite of that fact.

Reading the liner notes of Litany for the Whale today, I discovered that their performance of Experiences II omitted a line of text and reordered others.  This confuses me.  If you’re going to perform a work, why not do it right?  I mean, at least the conductor of that 103 recording had an explanation, however silly it was, for ignoring the score.  Hmm.  

This is a violin work intended to accompany a sound sculpture that causes string vibrations as it melts and is mostly a big pile of very long tones.  It should be appropriate for my stupor tonight, I think.  It was created in 1990.  

Curiously most of the violin tones sound essentially the same, or else my ears are too inadequate to determine the differences.  Once in awhile, the particular note shifts though, sometimes lower and sometimes higher.  There are also extended silences.  As usual, the extended playing of the notes allows me to hear the subtle variations in timbre; at certain points, too, I can observe how the sound changes as the violinist increases or decreases volume.

The string music always brings to mind water, partially because of the rushing sound of the bowing.  On this case, I think of a rather placid lake, still for most of the time, but disturbed occasionally by a pebble falling in.  The resulting ripples are observed in extreme slow motion through this music, persisting for awhile, and then vanishing back into silence when the lake is still again.

And yes, the music did come close to putting me to sleep yet again.  I think that is a consequence of the extended silences, and the brush-like nature of performance.  It’s very soothing.  

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