Friday, April 2, 2010

Review of the month

American Record Guide really doesn't hold back sometimes. This is from Allen Gimbel's review of James Tenney's Spectrum Pieces, performed by The Barton Workshop on New World Records:
"Tenney found his earlier spectral pieces "too sweet" since they acknowledged the lower reaches of the harmonic series and thus had an aura of "tonality" about them. These pieces are more macho and don't bother with such old-fashioned gentility. Any notion of recognizable musical patterning is also thrown out the door, as is any semblance of musicality.
... 1 is for a septet... Random unkempt (oh, excuse me, "properly tuned") pitches meander tediously from one to the other... 2 is for a quintet... Listen at your own risk... 5, an octet... is filled with some of the most unrelievedly foul sounds I've ever heard on records... Finally, 8... Like everything else on this program it is thoroughly unlistenable.
Tenny had built a reputation as one of the avant-garde's most underrated and important figures, and for such an audience this release would be considered important as "Late Tenney"; but for the rest of us (that is, not his friends) this music is of negligible value and is in fact considerably worse than that."

1 comment:

Bob said...

My curiosity took me to a download site where I listened to three 30 second extracts.
Not my cup of tea. In fact sheet music as they say in Mexico.