PHILP VENABLES (b.1979): The Revenge of Miguel Cotto (Soloists), 4 Metamorphoses after Britten (Melinda Maxwell [oboe]), Klaviertrio im Geiste (Phoenix Piano Trio), Numbers 76-80: tristan und isolde (Various artists, Ligeti Quartet; Richard Baker [conductor]), Numbers 91-95 (Various artists), Illusions (David Hoyle [performance artist], London Sinfonietta; Baker).

Catalogue Number: 04T079

Label: NMC

Reference: D238

Format: CD

Price: $18.98

Description: Much of Venables' output is a blend of theatre and music, crossing over into a kind of musical performance art. He often treats themes of politics, psychology and sexuality, with considerable frankness and impact. The actual musical component is far from complex or avant garde, but in context it contributes to darker, more disturbing pieces of art. The Trio borrows all its material from Beethoven, but rearranged into the ghost of the Ghost Trio, with echoing memory traces of the original score. This and the oboe Metamorphoses, inspired by Britten, are the nearest to conventional concert music here. Numbers sets two sequences from poems by Simon Howard, an experimental English poet with a somewhat post-Beat Generation style; the poems are recited (and in 91-95, 'remembered' by tape recorders) and punctuated by uncomplicated, gentle chamber music. The percussive 'fight' sequence in The Revenge of Miguel Cotto is hammered out on punching bags, while Illusions is an edited monologue by performance artist David Hoyle (funny, flamboyant and intermittently x-rated) about sex, gender and politics, with a 'score' written to fit, including 'muzak', and electronic jitters and loops. Great, viciously camp fun.


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