Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
A voice teacher and early music fan
George Peabody | Planet Earth | 11/23/2006
(5 out of 5 stars)
"'THE AGONY AND THE ECSTACY': A SONG CYCLE THAT IS A PERFECT MARRIAGE OF MUSIC AND WORDS DEPICTING THE INNER THOUGHTS AND SUFFERING OF ONE MAN!!!
This is a truly remarkable piece of work; shocking though it may be to some people, one has to think of it in the framework in which it was written. Derek Jarman, who wrote the words to these 17 poems, was considered the "gay Bad Boy of British Cinema".
He was a poet,painter,designer,writer,gay-rights activist and independent filmmaker; his best known film being entitled 'Blue'. It is a pensive,spoken-text meditation on mortality; no doubt because he was dying at that time (died of Aids in 1994). During the making of this film he was so impressed with Donna Mckevitt's setting of one of the soundtracks for it, that he gave her permission to set any of his peoms to music that she wished. This song cycle is the subsequent result! Jarman never got to hear it, unfortunately.
The selection of Michael Chance for 6 of the 17 poems was a stroke of genius as far as I'm concerned; he is magnificent singing this very intensely emotional and DIFFICULT song material and I would bet that he has never used some of the language that was required.
The Mezzo-soprano is very good, having a clear bell-like sound very suited to her songs. The violist and cellist were excellent. It's really quite an outstanding disc, BUT some of the language is offensive, and certainly not for the young or the overly pious."
Timelessness, beauty, simplicity and poignancy...
George Peabody | 12/29/1998
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This disc was a remarkable find for me - having randomly purchased it in a local shop, I visited Amazon to try and buy another copy as a present for a friend. It's a shame that it's not yet in stock as I'm sure it will give enormous pleasure (as well as haunt) a great many people. Though undoubtedly tinged with sadness Mackevitt's music transcends its own bleak existence and becomes altogether other-worldly. I feel it can communicate on many levels and is certainly moving, especially in conjunction with Derek Jarman's book ("Derek Jarman's Garden" 1995 & 1996,"