Format: COMPACT DISC
Menzies, Mark; Unearthly Delights Ensemble; Jacobson-Larson, Nicholas; Robson, Mark; Bjorkedal, Alison; Aston, Stephanie; LeBaron, Anne; Feves, Julie; Wiest, Kirsten Ashley; Gerpe, Nic; Panic Duo; Stehney, Jonathan
From Gothic horror to ghostly whispers to Boschian excesses, Anne LeBaron’s music evokes fantastical worlds tempered by excavations of Bach-tinged ruins. Ramping things up, she embellishes Gertrude Stein’s ruminations on money with call bells and ratchets to materialize cash registers in sound, followed by a musical depiction of a fiery sandwich. Topping it all off, she lifts all the words on the spines of volumes forming the first Oxford English Dictionary, transforming them into a whirlwind of utterances punctuated by the letter A, Hobbit, Walrus, and Zythum. Unearthly Delights, a collection of chamber and solo works from the past decade, begins with the unearthly power of the crack in Edgar Allan Poe’s The Fall of the House of Usher. As depicted in the initial work, Fissure, the crack widens with renderings of a door harp recording in a haunted mansion blended with a hairbrush strumming piano strings. Meanwhile, the loosely sketched characters Roderick and Madeline play their piano and violin amid gathering doom. With its hellish hedonistic excesses, The Garden of Earthly Delights, a triptych by Hieronymus Bosch, jump-started Julie’s Garden of Unearthly Delights. Square-waved multiphonic bassoon tremolos, frogs singing in Julie’s garden, and two live bassoons blast away in the night. Harp and violin solos calm things down. Gertrude Stein questions the role of money; one bassoon returns to conjure a Dammit to Hell sandwich, and the alchemical creation of birds by an Owl-Woman is invoked in a piano solo. A – Zythum tears through bizarre words and even non-words to offer a distinctive history of the OED. Poem for Doreen returns, the languid portrait of a friend performed by two different harpists.