Great pieces, good sound.
(2 out of 5 stars)
"Although I have other recordings from the Mode Label that are excellent (for a recording of Xenakis's Rebonds look no further than Robert Mc Ewan's performance on Mode 53), my personally feeling is that there are better recordings of these works out there. For Psappha (and I have three recordings) the only recording you need is by Gert Mortensen available on a couple BIS cd's including catalog #482. Mortensen's sounds seem more appropriate for the primal drumming context not to mention the performance is more accurate. Pugliese takes quite a number of liberties, intentionally I think. Sounds are also my major reason for disliking the performance of The King Of Denmark although I don't have another recording to recommend so it might be worth buying. What are supposed to be sustained sounds end up being scrathes and pulsed sounds that don't seem true to the music. For the performer wondering how to interpret Feldman's notation this recording may hurt as much as it definetely could help. To Pugliese's credit the recording is a live one which is certainly ambitous. The remainder of the CD has great pieces as well and the ensemble performances are certainly worth a listen."
Nothing special here - great works performed at a mediocre l
Steward Willons | Illinois | 10/08/2007
(2 out of 5 stars)
"While I agree for the most part with the previous reviewers comments, I must point out that Robert McEwan's performance of Rebonds on Mode 53 is hardly definitive. It's rather poor compared to Steven Schick's performances available on the amazing Xenakis Percussion Music triple CD (also by Mode).
But on to Michael Pugliese. Opening with Psappha is a bold move, as it is a very difficult work. Pugliese's tempo is positively glacial. If more percussionists performed the work at this tempo, I'm sure many more could handle it. It's a full 4:30 longer than Gert Mortensen's!!! There's absolutely no reason the piece should extend beyond 12-14 minutes unless the performer is just not up to the task (As is the case here).
After that we have "King of Denmark" by Morton Feldman. I've heard four or five performances of this and I can say that this is very average. Nothing special, but nothing bad either. I love Max Neuhaus's interpretation as well as Steven Schick's, although Schick hasn't recorded the work to date.
The next work, "Progress" by Nils Vigeland, was commissioned by Pugliese, so we can assume this is the definitive record. It's better than a lot of contemporary marimba music out there, but at nearly 22 minutes, it's fairly dull. I love long works such as Feldman's Piano and String Quartet (80 minutes), but there needs to be something interesting happening.
Following that we have "Music for Four" by John Cage. The quartet uses 200 instruments between them providing a colorful palate. It's fairly interesting. Not much else to say - if you know Cage, you have a pretty good idea what this sounds like.
The highlight for me is Per Nordard's awesome work "Waves". It's an excellent performance of an excellent work. The final number is an arrangement of Henry Mancini tunes for percussion quartet. It's just silly fun - nothing too serious, but a great way to end the concert.
Overall, this is somewhat forgettable. It's long out of print, but I've seen used copies sell for $60 or more. It's absolutely not worth that price. If you can find it for $10 or so, it's worth it to get the recording of "Waves", which to my knowledge is the only recording of the work in existence."