Leo Kupper

Ways of fhe Voice

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Ways of the Voice is a collection of four works for the human voice composed by Leo Kupper between 1984 and 1998. All works use the voice of the Brazilian mezzo-soprano Anna Maria Kieffer as a sound source singing in a meaningless (as in "invented") language with Eduardo Janho-Abumrad also providing vocals on "Rezas Populares Do Brazil." This piece is the most interesting of the program. It contains more electroacoustic manipulations than the other three. The "lead" voice is backed by stretched samples of the singers' voices, creating beautiful sound textures. It is often very hard to know where the creativity of the singer ends and the preplanned work of the composer and the latter's work in the studio begin. "Amkéa" is made of four voices and sounds as if no manipulation was attempted, except for the simple overdubbing of the voice. The resulting music is often stylistically akin to Fatima Miranda's Concierto en Canto. On "Annazone," Kieffer converses with a background of Brazilian forest sounds (birds, insects, etc.). Oddly, the piece begins and ends on sampled orchestral staccatos -- a way to frame this "nature symphony"? Although entertaining, "Annazone" lacks cohesion and Kieffer's performance gets very close to being cartoonish. But this piece aside, Ways of the Voice offers a beautiful setting for Kieffer's talent. "Rezas Populares Do Brazil" is a memorable piece of work for anyone interested in the way one can write for/with the human voice. The booklet includes liner notes in English, French, and Portuguese.

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