John Cage: Litany for the Whale

Theatre of Voices / Paul Hillier

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

John Cage: Litany for the Whale Review

by "Blue" Gene Tyranny

Named after the longest work on the CD, this is a collection of both familiar and rarely given vocal works, composed by John Cage, and excellently performed by the Theatre of Voices, directed by Paul Hillier, with guest performer/composer Terry Riley. The selections are: Litany for the Whale for two voices, which establishes a call-and-response interaction on the word "whale"; Solo for Voice 52 (Aria No. 2) Song-Relevant, for voice and electronics, which includes rolling thunder, other weather and sounds, with vowels and consonants from five languages; Five, for five voices, on sustained pure tones which Cage indicates "should be brushed into being"; the classic The Wonderful Widow of Eighteen Spring for voice and closed piano (1942), on a text from James Joyce's Finnegan's Wake; Solo for Voice 22, Theatre With Electronics -- Relevant, for 2 voices and electronics (from Songbooks), about the multiple "meanings" of breath inflections; Experiences No. 2 for solo voice (1948), "it is at moments after I have dreamed of the rare entertainment of your eyes ... "; 36 Mesostics and not re Marcel Duchamp for 2 voices and electronics (1970); Aria, for 2 voices and electronics, in a fascinating new realization for two voices (1958); and The Year Begins To Be Ripe from Songbooks -- Solo for Voice 49, Song With Electronics -- Relevant: The Year Begins To Be Ripe, using a text from Henry David Thoreau's Journal for voice and closed piano (1970).

blue highlight denotes track pick