This CD contains the two fundamental collections Moondog (1969) and Moondog 2 (1971). Hardin, who lost his sight in his early teens when a dynamite cap exploded, has used the pen name Moondog since 1947, in honor of a dog "who used to howl at the moon more than any dog I knew of." He studied instruments with teachers, including drum rhythms of the Arapaho sun dance in Wyoming, but taught himself ear training and other skills from braille books. His music is constructed mostly of purely modal themes expanded by sophisticated countrapuntal techniques. His famous Theme (1952) is for pulsing strings, reeds and percussion with brass melodies in several layers of toe-tapping counterpoint. Symphonique # 3 (Ode to Venus) is a twelve-part canon "with an implied reference to Tchaikovsky's None But The Lonely Heart." The delightful Symphonique # 6 (Good for Goodie) is a seventeen-part round in jazz swing style. Lament I (Bird's Lament), written in honor of his friend Charlie Parker, is a chaconne for strings and two saxophones. These cuts, conducted by the composer, are excellently performed. Moondog 2 contains twenty-six rounds, canons, and charming madrigals, including Voices of Spring ("I couldn't sing in that chorus until I wrote my own song ... and joined the throng"), the madrigal What's the Most Exciting Thing (" ... either tell me or I'll tell you, come on ... it's in your eyes"), the joyous Coffee Beans in a complex Latin feel, No, the Wheel Was Never Invented in a lopping 5/4 with an added chromatic throwing the harmony slightly off, and Each Today Is Yesterday's Tommorrow that expresses Moondog's fascination with the constantly unfolding and interweaving patterns of the canon. Moondog truly has a universal vision with the best of American musical sensibilities.
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AllMusic Review by "Blue" Gene Tyranny
|Madrigals, Rounds, Canons|