Subject: I have found a CD that I think you would enjoy
|Olly Wilson, Donal Fox, Thomas  Jefferson Anderson|
Videmus: Works by Anderson, Baker, Fox, Watson
Genres: Pop, Classical
This collection of chamber works by contemporary African American composers offers a fascinating look at how history and musical languages interweave. Olly Wilson's "Sometimes" is a tremendous exploration of voice and tape... more »
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This collection of chamber works by contemporary African American composers offers a fascinating look at how history and musical languages interweave. Olly Wilson's "Sometimes" is a tremendous exploration of voice and tape, held steady by William Brown's tenor, which seems to extend its range warmly while fragmenting "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." T.J. Anderson's equally striking "Intermezzi," a trio for tenor saxophone, clarinet, and piano, presents assorted miniatures that come together improvisationally. Likewise, Donal Fox's contributions draw from "Intermezzi" and "Sometimes," inverting and interrogating constructions in freely improvised segments. David Baker's "Through This Vale of Tears" is a lengthy song cycle, using Brown's tenor, Vivian Taylor's piano, and a string quartet in a tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It's wonderful to hear how 20th-century classical techniques merge with sonorities gleaned in part from avant-garde jazz. --Andrew Bartlett
A gem of soulful modernism
Max T. Shea | Amherst, MA | 03/21/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
Videmus was an ensemble directed by pianist Vivian Taylor as a vehicle for the advancement of "minority" composers.
I discovered this release in my search for works by composer Olly Wilson and for me, a lover of electronic music, Wilson's "Sometimes" is a rewarding listen. Wilson wrote "Sometimes" with the tenor William Brown in mind. The piece is based on the Black spiritual "Sometimes I Feel Like a Motherless Child." The tape whirs, taps, and hisses interweaving with Brown's plaintive intonations. Wilson and Brown capture the dark viscera of the spiritual's message in a way that augments the power of the song itself.
"Motherless Child" and the voice of William Brown return on Videmus as part of jazz composer David Baker's powerful song cycle "Through This Vale of Tears," which is a commemoration of the death of Dr. Martin Luther King. The highlight of this cycle of seven songs lies in the ironic text of the last one, "Now That He is Safely Dead," by poet Carl Hines: "Now that he is safely dead, we, with eased consciences will teach our children he was a great man. Knowing that the cause for which he lived is still a cause. And the dream for which he died is still a dream."
Donal Fox is another African-American composer featured on Videmus with four different pieces for piano and for piano with wind instruments. The best of these is "Jazz Sets and Tone Rows," which takes its inspiration from Olly Wilson's "Sometimes" and features the iconic saxophonist Oliver Lake on alto sax. Fox achieves a masterfully difficult fusion between jazz and serialism.
T.J. Anderson's sole piece on Videmus is his "Intermezzi" for clarinet, saxophone, and piano, a scoreless piece divided into several resonant sections with each section played independently of the others. The composer compares his method to listening to several conversations in the same room. The subsequent pieces, Fox's "Four Chords from T.J.'s Intermezzi" and "Duetto for Clarinet and Piano" are based on Anderson's contribution.
Thus, in Videmus, we have more than a collection, but an interconnected suite based on musical and conceptual themes."