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Words & Music X 2 - Billy Collins & Christopher Fox

The Billy Collins Suite: Songs Inspired by His Poetry

Music by Pierre Jalbert, Stacy Garrop, Vivian Fung, Lita Grier, and Zhou Tian

Marta Aznavoorian (Piano)
Jonathan Beyer (Baritone)
Buffy Baggot (Mezzo Soprano)
John Goodwin (Piano)
Joel Link (Viola)
Yoko Yamada (Piano)
David Cunliffe (Cello)
Nuiko Wadden (Harp)
Susan Cook (Saxophone)
John Yeh (Clarinet)
Tim Munro (Flute)

Cedille Records CDR 90000 115

William "Billy" Collins (b. 1941) was the Poet Laureate of the United States 2001/2003. Here is some of his verse with music in different styles, held together by Collins' words.

"The Invention of the Saxophone," is a leisurely setting of a tongue-in-cheek poem, with a narrator and piano helping to take Susan Cook's sax through its paces. "Ars Poetica" is set to Stacy Garrop's music for mezzo-soprano, violin, cello, and piano. Vivian Fung offers "Insomnia," "The Man in the Moon," and "The Willies," arranged for clarinet, cello, piano, and narrator. Lita Grier's baritone, clarinet, and piano take us through a sentimental landscape. Zhou Tian's "Reading an Anthology of Chinese Poems of the Sung Dynasty, I Pause to Admire the Length and Clarity of Their Titles" is touching, with flute, harp, viola setting the right mood for the narrator's recitation.

Something different; an unusual, and unusually successful CD in an uncrowded genre.
Well recorded and presented, with full texts supplied.


Also received: Christopher Fox - Catalogue irraisoné
Exaudi Vocal Ensemble
(Juliet Fraser and Julia Doyle, sopranos, Tom Williams, countertenor,
Jimmy Holliday bass, and James Weeks and Christopher Fox, speakers)

Metier - MSVCD92103

Christopher Fox "is at the cutting edge of the new avant-garde", we are told - so much so that I find myself quite out of my depth, and this disc as inscrutable as its cover image, leaving me unable to attempt to review "one of his most experimental and abstract works".

Musical Pointers needs reviewers in this area, and a review of this disc would be welcome.