Mary Zimmerman

Willy Schwarz: Metamorphoses and other plays

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On this record listeners hear three original scores, back to back, written by multi-instrumentalist Willy Schwarz to accompany three plays directed by Mary Zimmerman, the noted dramaturgist. First comes music from "Metamorphoses" and "The Odyssey," plays based on the legends by Ovid and Homer, respectively. These feature similar instrumentation -- an ethereal potpourri of non-Western percussion, strings, and woodwinds, along with violins and cello. "Metamorphoses" often foregrounds the lonely sound of Matt Darriau's kaval (a wooden, end-blown flute). The music for "The Baltimore Waltz," recorded some years earlier, is quite scaled down in comparison, with Schwarz on keyboards and accordion, Miriam Sturm on violin and viola, and Michael Bodeen on guitar. The shortest of the three, this sequence leans heavily on waltz tempos, fittingly enough. The chirpy naïveté of "Travelogue" quickly gives way to the more ominous harmonies of "Radical Student" and ultimately, a mournful finale. Many of the tracks are brief scene-setters, lasting a minute or even less, but there are exceptions -- like "Death of Suitors," which seems to imagine Odysseus having his revenge in glorious slow motion. Listening to these evocative programs, one can really hear stories unfolding.

Track Listing

Sample Title/Composer Performer Time
Metamorphoses, incidental music
1 2:05
2 4:05
3 1:39
4 2:26
5 1:25
6 1:01
7 4:49
8 0:46
9 0:54
10 1:31
11 3:08
The Odyssey, incidental music
12 1:04
13 1:33
14 2:47
15 1:08
16 0:47
17 2:48
18 1:07
19 2:30
20 0:34
21 0:48
22 1:17
23 4:27
24 1:36
The Baltimore Waltz, incidental music
25 1:04
26 0:39
27 1:38
28 2:43
29 2:30
30 1:00
31 1:41
32 1:19
blue highlight denotes track pick