The rapid-fire vocalises of Georges Aperghis' 14 Récitations (1978) are a complicated mixture of French words, phonemes, non-verbal vocalizations, and other mouth sounds, elaborately designed in a game format to make the singer produce a distinctly different performance each time. Donatienne Michel-Dansac recorded this unique version of the piece on November 16, 2001, for a Wien Modern concert, but she has performed it several times, before and since, each time with different results and a changing personal connection to the music. This is not an easy work to absorb, especially without a score or a guide to Aperghis' avant-garde methods, and listeners may find that the music sounds like a free-form vocal improvisation that has no rules. But rules there are, and each recitation depends on a single choice made from a number of suggestions in the score; it seems the singer often encounters complications that require spontaneous solutions. Of course, such a challenging work will not appeal to people expecting conventional vocal music, but it certainly helps that Michel-Dansac has a lovely and agile singing voice, and an attractive way of producing noises and making them feeling musical, even at their strangest. Col Legno's reproduction is clear and resonant, but the volume is quite low, so getting the best effect requires some adjustments.
AllMusic Review by Blair Sanderson
|Récitations, for voice solo|