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Record companies, artists and publicists are invited to submit CDs to be considered for our Editor's Pick's of the month. Send to: Jerry Bowles, Editor, Sequenza 21, 340 W. 57th Street, 12B, New York, NY 10019


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Monday, April 25, 2005
Music from the East, the West, and Some Places You Never Want to Go
N.B. Ratings from 0 to 11: 0 being prison-cell, 11 being Shangra-la

Rocco di Pietro: Multiples and The Lost Project (2CDs)

Humanists of an avant garde persuasion are entreated to check out the world of composer Rocco di Pietro. Combining acoustic instruments, musique concrete, and spoken narrations from sources ranging from lit crit to prison cells, di Pietro delivers a double dose of socially conscious, imaginative . . . stuff. Some of the works are good for little but head-scratching, but others, like "Deconstructed Fountain from Ravel with Derrida Watching," are curiously enthralling. Rating: 6.

New World Records: Chinary Ung, Seven Mirrors

Imagine a world in which the only images you ever saw were blurry – like ones reflected off the surface of water. That’s what listening to Cambodian-American composer Chinary Ung’s music is like: his sound never stops shimmering. The music on "Seven Mirrors" is lush, diaphanous, Romantic, exotic, and attractive, and one yearns to hear these works live because the recording quality here stinks. Ung’s rapturous orchestra piece, "Grand Spiral (‘Desert Flowers Bloom’)," may be a masterpiece. Rating: 9.

East Meets West: Les Percussions de Strausbourg

For the audiophile inclined to post-war European modernism of the French variety, this is a treat. PentaTone presents here spiffed up recordings Les Percussions de Strasbourg made in 1972 of works by Francis Miroglio, Alain Louvier, and Georges Aperghis. The centerpiece is Miroglio’s "Extensions 2," a huge, jittery, ritualistic work for everything and the kitchen sink. Louvier’s "Shima" is much smoother, and Apherghis’s "Kryptoramma" is infectious in its way, but most of the time I was just lost. Rating: 7.

Megadisc: Rytis Mažulis, Cum essem parvulus

For those wondering what ever happened to microtonal perpetual canons, here they are. Lithuanian composer Rytis Mažulis combines his love for twenty-cent intervals with his knowledge of Renaissance polyphony to produce this by turns fascinating and infuriating album of choral music. While one wishes Mažulis were less stubborn about sticking to formal symmetry and just let it rip once in a while, this is nonetheless very convincing work. The sensational Latvian Chamber Singers do the honors. Rating: 8.

 



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