1. Basket A - High Basket 3:02
2. Bells A 1:39
3. Calls 0:48
4. Bells B 1:52
5. Basket B 2:28
6. Bells C 1:09
7. Bells D 0:42
8. Basket C 1:45
Jukebox in the Tavern of Love
9. Storm 7:01
10. Brush Chug Shuffle 5:02
11. The Jewish Jesuit 5:26
12. Not Porcelain Dolls 4:04
13. Toast Love 3:51
14. Quodlibet 2:55
15. All That Is Left Of Me 5:49
Jukebox in the Tavern of Love
A Modern Madrigal
Libretto: Valeria Vasilevski
45th Anniversary Commissions for The Western Wind
Basket Rondo by Meredith Monk and Jukebox in the Tavern of Love by Eric Salzman and Valeria Vasilevski were both created especially for the six singers that make up The Western Wind; both explore new areas of vocal technique and expression while retaining the deep expressive appeal of the human voice in its most basic forms. The Western Wind, celebrating its 45th anniversary, is noted for its performances of early music but has also been a leader in the performance of new work, much of it written especially for the group.
Meredith Monk is perhaps the most original and innovative vocal talent to appear on the scene in recent years. Although many of her works were created for her own unique talents, she has recently been working with other performers to widen her scope and appeal. Basket Rondo, like most of her work, combines resonant, spiritual overtones with off-beat humor and a social conscience. The title has very specific meanings for the composer who wanted to evoke “a pre-industrial community of people working together” as a kind of work song. Other sections were based on what she calls “a natural kind of resonance” meant to evoke “ a sense of nature or space”.
The madrigal comedy was an early genre of Renaissance music theater in which a band of vocalists got together to tell stories. One of the most popular of these, “The Boat From Venice to Padua” by Adriano Banchieri was a staple of The Western Wind repertory for many years but it needed a contemporary counterpart. Eric Salzman, a pioneer of the new music theater, was a logical choice to update a sixteenth-century art form. Valeria Vasilevski provided the text for Jukebox in the Tavern of Love which takes place in a New York bar during a severe storm and blackout. A group of strangers – a poet, a dancer, a rabbi, a nun and a Con Ed worker – has sought shelter and to pass the time each tells a personal story – humorous, tragic, touching -- about life and love. Only after an evocation of the poet Rumi do the lights come up on again; as they leave the bar they are again strangers but, in some special way, transformed. Jukebox was premiered at New York’s Tenri Center followed by a run at The Flea Theater in Tribeca; it was also performed at Bargemusic in the East River under the Brooklyn Bridge.
Members of The Western Wind Vocal Ensemble in this recording are Kristina Boerger soprano; Laura Christian, soprano; William Zukof, counter-tenor; Todd Frizzell, tenor; Richard Slade, tenor; Elliot Levine, baritone.
“…the different voices [of Basket Rondo] weave together so that you can hear the individuality of each voice...a musical texture evocative of a pre-industrial community of people working together...a natural kind of resonance...a sense of nature or space”
“[Jukebox] effectively blends elements of barbershop-quartet harmonizing, cabaret, Renaissance sacred music, polyphony, Tin Pan Alley and avant-garde effects….powerful …evocative…”
–Vivian Schweitzer, New York Times
“Salzman's music is full of wit and high spirits. At times its contemporary dissonances seem a sendup…
In the song for the Broadway gypsy its melodies and rhythms seem very much Tin Pan Alley. At times, as one would expect of as formidable a figure as Salzman, the music was more learned…the tone is fresh and entertaining…challenging and refreshing.”
–Howard Kissel, New York Daily News
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