Barton McLean

Barton McLean: Forgotten Shadows

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This disc explores what composer Barton McLean calls "aspects of celebration, ritual, or ceremony that bring people together."

McLean's 'Ritual of Dawn,' scored for winds, harp and piano, is a re-creation of an ancient religious ceremony. This is delicately shaded music with a gentle, hypnotic pulse. 'Forgotten Shadows' samples sound bytes taken from an art exhibition, juxtaposed with snippets of tunes that were popular in the first quarter of the 20th century. Strange as this may sound, it does work. The variety of sound images wed to the familiar old tunes makes for an Ives-like sonic collage.

Best of all is 'Happy Days,' a lighthearted work scored for a battery of buzzers, horns, whistles, music boxes and synthesizers. Once again, McLean weaves dizzying patterns of sound that swirl with a quirky rhythm and soothe with melodic grace. This is provocative music with a playful, child-like heart.

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