GEORGE CRUMB (b.1929): Complete Edition, Vol. 13 - A Journey Beyond Time and The Winds of Destiny (American Songbooks II and IV).
Catalogue Number: 02K093
Description: This important series continues with extraordinary treatments of spirituals (in Vol. II) and Civil War songs, folk songs and spirituals (in Vol. IV). As in the other volumes of his American Songbook, Crumb's method of setting the familiar melodies is a highly unorthodox approach of presenting the original song untouched 'to stay out of the way of those beautiful tunes', but surrounding them in a characteristic Crumb soundscape of every conceivable percussion sonority, anchored by amplified piano. Sometimes this lends an impressionistic shimmer to the settings, as in Nobody Knows or the instrumental interlude in II; sometimes the music is ferociously vivid of imagery, as in the battle pieces, Joshua fit de battle and 'When Johnny Comes (with shouts and whistles from the ensemble). Mine eyes have seen the glory is unexpectedly an eerie and desolate post-battle vision of a deserted battlefield - this kind of ironic undermining of expectations in the generally dark, non-triumphant Civil War settings is a recurring therme - but here as elsewhere the uncanny appropriateness of Crumb's treatment of these iconic songs is extraordinary. 2 CDs. Texts included. Barbara Ann Martin (soprano), Orchestra 2001; James Freeman.