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Ralph Shapey: Songs of Life
Ralph Shapey
Ralph Shapey: Songs of Life
Genre: Classical
  •  Track Listings (12) - Disc #1

Bloch: Quartets Nos. II and III by The Portland String Quartet


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CD Details

All Artists: Ralph Shapey
Title: Ralph Shapey: Songs of Life
Members Wishing: 0
Total Copies: 0
Label: Arabesque Recordings
Original Release Date: 1/1/1999
Re-Release Date: 3/9/2009
Genre: Classical
Styles: Chamber Music, Historical Periods, Classical (c.1770-1830), Modern, 20th, & 21st Century
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
UPC: 026724672828


Album Description
Bloch: Quartets Nos. II and III by The Portland String Quartet

CD Reviews

Uncompromisingly powerful music
scarecrow | Chicago, Illinois United States | 04/02/2000
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The sets of Evocations here are the most powerful stuff around. The cello is tuned down to A from the C and Krosnick,long a Shapey devotee plays with all the focused abandon possible, These Evocations break their own frames, they sound like miniature concertos, and sonic poems simultaneously. Shapey's gaze at the world is not a pleasant one, his music is uncompromising yet full of conviction for the human situation, the attenuation of the human emotions. He stretches and compells and brutalizes his music materials and those emotions. The piano and percussion here are very able accomplices with continuously syncopated statements,bell-like,with the gruff power of the tympnai bringing the proceedings to a momentary rest. But Shapey's rhythmic structures alone are the stuff scholars should study. He constructs his rhythms like granite boulders, with divisions of the 3 always present, unshakable yet pliable to his wishes. This music may remind you at times of Messiaen, and the affinity for reiteration of the same material yet posed into a different context since each inhabits then a different point in time downstream. Evocation 4 is less focused and we have the dialogue between the Violin and Cello now to contend with. Shapey's timbres alone are fantastic, the attacks and the sputtering of the musical statement is powerful. The Songs of Life as well reveals the voice with a high sense of immediacy the long sustained moments against the again syncopated, or asymmetrical rhyhthmic structures. Shapey controls all this like a prophet over his flock,with an affinity for the classical canon of musical form, duos,trios, and cadenzas. It all works quite well. The Spiritoso from Evocation 2 is like a demonical whim you cannot call it playful yet it is unforgettable. And if you know the Shapey aesthetic, you know the unforgettable is an important component.Vera Klement's cover has a keen insight into Shapey's persona,unmovable,walled into the space where creation occurs"
Great introduction to Shapey
Bartolo | New York City, New York USA | 02/16/2010
(5 out of 5 stars)

"The previous review is so authoritative and positive that there is little for me to add. I would just say that as an unprofessional 20th century chamber music buff, I hadn't come upon Shapey until this CD. Kalish and Krosnick have led me to great finds in the past, so I could almost assume these selections would be worthwhile, but I wasn't prepared for how much I would enjoy Shapey at an intuitive, sensuous level. My earphones in particular brought out the depth of the percussion, richness of the cello, and Shapey's great sense of contrasting textures and effective use of overlapping and contrapoint. Rarely have I had such luck with a composer the first time out: every part of this album is winning.

My only complaint is that there are no notes other than a list of the (undated) works and the names of the two principals. I had to return to this website (!) to ferret out the names of the soprano (Lisa Saffer), percussionist (William Trigg), and violinist (Joel Smirnoff). Those musicians should feel justifiably slighted that their names were omitted altogether. For shame on the label, Ioda!