Hermann Nitsch

Musik der 66. Aktion

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This double-CD recording captures one of Hermann Nitsch's strange ritualistic theatrical performances, or "actions," from May 21, 1980. This event involved an orchestra, a punk band, an organist, and several large, gutted mammals whose blood and entrails get spilled freely over the performers in what was a total assault on the senses of the spectators. The two and half hours of jarring music, as well as the 24-page booklet of even more jarring photos of the event, may not quite offer the same experience as being there, but it probably comes close enough, maybe even too close for most people's tastes. Even without the stench of animal carcass, this is very powerful stuff. The music moves slowly, but then jerks abruptly back and forth between barely audible and delicate ambient tones; loud, intense orchestral drones; shrieking whistles; slow-pounding percussions; and a single organ chord drone. It really gets good when the orchestra screams out a single sustained chord to invoke something of truly frightening proportions, and only made more so by the contrast between that and the wispy, quieter moments. Extreme music, needless to say, and two and a half hours of it might be a bit too much to take. Then again, that may be the point.

Track Listing

Title/Composer Performer Time
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