Well compacted,directly astonishing
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 08/06/2001
(5 out of 5 stars)
"you'd think with a provocative title as this that Schat would have sought to evoke the mysteries of the East, others have,as John Adams with 'Nixon in China',which by comparison is a bland corporatly formed alternative to Schat's more imaginative means. Schat allows his music to speak for itself,there are no pentatonic scales here or Eastern stringed instruments, simply an on-going marimba that is effectively utilized as accompaniment, also the disarming quality of the violin, with frequent solo spots, sometimes merely playing the four open strings. I never thought something that simple could be exciting. Schat also follows the modernist sense of erecting timbres around his characterizations here. So for instance when the Bone Demon sings, here the coloratura soprano,she is accompanied by flowing winds,very compact sound. That is Schat's musical language here, the barrest of means with plucked doublebass against then the same tones bowed by violoncellos, directly functional,but allowing the narrative to proceed,and giving the text punctuation. We have quite striking deliveries of text with stridently sounding tenor, Richard Zook, and countertenor Gary Boyce, very penetrating voices.Monique Krus as the Bone Demon also sings seamlessly. The musical accompaniment is also seamless, fantastic playing. This CD if you can find it,is accompanied by a 298 page booklet complete with images you can floow,images by Chao Hung-pen and Chien Hsiao-tai"