Robert Ashley

Private Parts (The Record)

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This CD is a re-issue of the original 1977 vinyl record that "started it all." These two pieces are the initial versions of the first and last episodes (of seven) for Ashley's first "new narrative" opera-for-TV Perfect Lives. These are studies for an entirely new idea of opera divorced from the usual linear plot, where the voice inflections of the characters are built by the singers themselves, and much more. In these episodes, the part of the narrator/singer Raoul de Noget is spoken by Ashley, in his attractive tone, following the accents of the score which indicates stresses in otherwise open divisions, so that the text is "played" between musically inflected and natural speech. This is simultaneous with the character of Buddy "The World's Greatest Piano Player", who is present in the "settings for piano and orchestra." These are harmonies (played on Polymoog synthesizer and clavinet) and piano improvisations that were created by "Blue" Gene Tyranny specifically to realize this character. General rhythmic pulse in this version is kept by Kris on tabla. The Park is the initial episode, wherein the narrator sits in his hotel room looking out at the park, with its stupid statue of the warrior, while re-thinking his life. (The other episodes introduce us to the private and "perfect" lives of the other people in this small town that could be almost anywhere in the U.S., and to their involvement with many ideas about agriculture, architecture, world history, etc.) In The Backyard, " ... a few friends have gathered, as usual in summer, to picnic, to celebrate the changing of the light at sundown. And watching from the doorway of her mother's house, Isolde counts the days." This is a beautiful chorale, with clavinet mellismas that circle around it.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
1 21:43
2 23:54
blue highlight denotes track pick