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Re: Meredith Monk

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  • Anna Clare McDuff
    ... Thanks. I only discovered Monk recently, but I am totally in love with her music. The first time I heard her music [Double Fiesta (1988) performed by
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 23, 1998
      On Mon, 22 Jun 1998, Andrew Grant wrote:

      > From: "Andrew Grant" <stoic@...>
      >
      > Anna-
      > Personally, I love her opera 'Atlas'. Pure bliss. She performed it here in
      > NYC when it was still a work-in-progress. It was held in the atrium of the
      > World Financial Center, which was really quite trippy. Beautiful melodies.
      > Interesting text. Two CDs. Buy it.

      Thanks. I only discovered Monk recently, but I am totally in love
      with her music. The first time I heard her music [Double Fiesta (1988)
      performed by Tomoko Mukaiyama] I was awestruck and I felt like I'd come
      home. Instant love. The combination of abstraction and intimacy is a very
      powerful one. Another striking facet of Double Fiesta is that it is so
      cheerful and optimistic, graceful and lightfooted. A simple piano run
      accompanied by abstract vocals. I love emotive music, but the most
      powerful emotive music usually on offer tends to tap into the
      negative emotions... it's very rare to find a piece that powerfully evokes
      *positive* emotions! Well, I don't seem to come across them very often,
      anyway :-).

      Dolmen Music (1981), the only Monk album I've managed to find so
      far, is also breathtaking. The two sides (yup, it's vinyl... from ECM)
      display Meredith Monk as both Composer & Performer. On the first side,
      Monk performs some of her 1970's pieces, such as Gotham Lullaby (1975). A
      pastoral rendition of Manhattan's streets.I know that sounds unlikely, but
      that's what it is! And all with the same seemingly effortless grace. On
      the second side is Dolmen Music (1979) itself, which the sleeve notes say
      was one of Monk's first ever attempts to compose for other voices:
      teaching her performers her techniques, and composing a piece to blend and
      weave their voices, and to make best use of their unique ranges and
      strengths. I listened to this, and all of a sudden I understood where a
      lot of the modern vocal music I adore is coming from: Diamanda Galas, Lisa
      Gerrard, Blixa Bargeld, even Liz Fraser... It sounds so very modern, so
      incredibly adroit in its interplay between harmony & dissonance, between
      the angular and the curved.... I felt cheated when I first heard it, I
      couldn't believe that no-one had thrust it into my hands *years* ago,
      telling me that I simply *had* to listen to it... you know, Meredith Monk
      has been making music for much longer that I've been alive, and here I was
      hearing her for the first time!!!! So here I am, sharing the good news
      with all of you! This is music so beautiful it makes my veins sing with
      happiness...

      Anna
    • Robert Killip
      I also was inspired to buy a Meredith Monk recording after reading Anna s many eulogies. I have just acquired Volcano Songs - and it is quite strange! For the
      Message 2 of 2 , Jul 5, 1998
        I also was inspired to buy a Meredith Monk recording after reading Anna's many
        eulogies. I have just acquired Volcano Songs - and it is quite strange! For the
        most part, unaccompanied voice(s) and just one of the many tracks has
        discernible words. I have listened to it three times so far - I'm reserving
        judgement! I'm not sure what is the right environment for this type of music -
        it is interesting, but not relaxing or stirring. Another of the type that
        provokes adverse comment from my wife as she passes by. I mentioned some weeks
        ago, in the debate about women in music, that in the area of contemporary /
        experimental vocals (or popular for that matter) women are in the forefront. I
        can think of many more female jazz singers, for example, than male. When
        considering instrumentalists though, this certainly is not the case. Very few
        women seem to get their fair share of media coverage. Only a few manage to break
        the barriers and receive regular coverage - like Marilyn Crispell (although I
        was very disappointed with her interpretation of Annette Peacock's music which I
        don't think has anything like the power or emotion of Paul Bley's many
        recordings).
        Finally, there have been some requests about mail order for CDs. If you use
        credit cards, I have found that CD Universe in the US are excellent. I usually
        find that 2 CDs including postage come to around $30 - less than �10 each.
        Delivery is around a week. A tip though - every time I have bought more than 2
        at once, the delivery has been intercepted by Customs & Excise and the duty they
        charge adds around �3 per CD. I don't know what their rules are, but I don't
        seem to get surcharged for deliveries of 1 or 2 CDs at a time.
        Robert Killip
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