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Ooppera Skaala - Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera (2009)

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Ooppera Skaala - Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera (2009)

Ooppera Skaala - Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera (2009)
EAC | FLAC | Tracks (Cue&Log) ~ 324 Mb | Mp3 (CBR320) ~ 141 Mb | Scans included
Classical, Minimalism, Opera | Label: Orange Mountain Music | # omm0062 | 01:00:30

Orange Mountain Music presents the world premiere recording of Philip Glass’ A Madrigal Opera performed by Finland’s Ooppera Skaala. Glass’ second opera after the hallmark Einstein on the Beach in 1975, A Madrigal Opera contains no narrative or subject matter. It is a work composed for future writers and directors to create in and around Glass score. The work is composed as for a traditional madrigal, with six voices with violin and viola accompaniment. The clean and dynamic Glass score from 1979 represented a huge musical step for the composer as he moved toward a more expressive idiom which later produced works like Satyagraha and Koyaanisqatsi.

A Madrigal Opera (1979) was the first opera Philip Glass wrote after the revolutionary Einstein on the Beach of 1976, and in some ways it strays even further from the conventions of traditional opera than Einstein had. Glass conceived of it as a piece for dramatic presentation, but he provides only the music, leaving all dramatic elements to be determined by the director who produced it. Its use of non-meaningful syllables gives even less of a hint of a dramatic or narrative trajectory than Einstein. On the other hand, Glass' musical language is more restricted than that of Einstein, with far less variety, making it closer to his more purely minimal works that had preceded Einstein. The limited musical parameters – six solo voices singing almost entirely homophonically, using bland triadic harmony, accompanied only by violin or viola – make it a considerably less engaging work, especially when experienced purely aurally. The relentlessness of the clumpy vocal writing induces a sense of the kind of sameness that gave minimalism a bad name. The CD lists poet Lauri Otonkoski as a collaborator, but her contribution, which was part of the production at Skaala Opera Helsinki, from which this recording is taken, is not evident on the album. Several of the tracks are for solo string instrument, played beautifully by violinist Linda Hedlund or violist Max Savikangas, and they are far more satisfying than the tracks that include voices. The vocal parts are so ungratefully written that the singers don't make much of an impact. Only the final chorus offers any hints of the elegant and expressive choruses of Satya Graha that Glass composed the following year. The voices sound somewhat distant, but the strings are clear. This is an album that's likely to be of interest primarily to hardcore Glass fans who want to hear everything he has composed.

Review by Stephen Eddins, Allmusic.com

Philip Glass’ A Madrigal Opera was written in 1980, in between Einstein on the Beach and Satyagraha–however it is unlike any of his other works in the genre, as it has no story, text, or program of any kind. Glass’ intent was that this piece would serve as a musical backdrop, or a shell to be filled in by a choreographer or director. In his words: “My idea was to write a musical/dramatic work that could, with different direction, be realized with different narrative content.” (If you want more, you’ll find a rambling, borderline-intelligible discussion of this work and the composer’s creative motivation for it on Glass’ website.)

This premiere recording was made by Ooppera Skaala, a Finnish company that specializes in contemporary opera, after a production they did in 2009. In this recording the performers chose to “fill in” the non-musical aspect of the work with text from Lauri Otonkoski’s, “Cameo, a symphonic poem”, but the poem’s influence is difficult to discern on the CD.

In his attempt to imitate a conventional scoring of madrigals, Glass sets the piece for vocal sextet, accompanied by violin and viola. In terms of its sonic character, A Madrigal Opera sounds like many of Glass’ earlier works: repeating organized textures with arpeggiations, rocking chords, and the vocals sung on solfege syllables. The vocal writing is richer than that of Einstein On the Beach, his first opera, using more typical vocal ensemble techniques. The piece does not have the melodic and often more programmatic feeling that you find in some of his later works like Satyagraha.

Ooppera Skaala’s recording is somewhat disappointing. I would never say that Glass’ music is easy to perform, but there are intonation issues throughout the recording, both from the strings and the vocalists. The singers manage to pull things together during the more lyric sections, but many of the staccato passages are painful. The only performer who survives the piece is the violist Max Savikangas, who nimbly plays the large viola solo in Part III, which is pleasantly reminiscent of Bach’s cello suites.

The recording is no better than the performances. Many of the faults you hear in the strings would not have been an issue had the microphone been placed at a judicious distance. Added reverb only serves to let small errors linger in the air. In addition there are mechanical rumblings like those of a truck or plane that intrude periodically.

A Madrigal Opera certainly will be of interest to die-hard Glass fans and to devotees of the minimalist style. However, owing to the sub-standard quality of the performances and recording I could not recommend the disc to anyone else. You know if you want this.

Review by ClassicsToday.com

Ooppera Skaala - Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera (2009)



Tracklist:

01. Part I - Opening (8:06)
02. Part I (13:11)
03. Part II (12:11)
04. Part III (10:17)
05. Part IV (12:07)
06. Part IV - Closing (4:39)


Exact Audio Copy V0.99 prebeta 5 from 4. May 2009

EAC extraction logfile from 29. November 2009, 14:00

Philip Glass / A Madrigal Opera. Cameo. A Symphonic Poem

Used drive : HL-DT-STDVDRAM GSA-T20N Adapter: 1 ID: 1

Read mode : Secure
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Read offset correction : 667
Overread into Lead-In and Lead-Out : No
Fill up missing offset samples with silence : Yes
Delete leading and trailing silent blocks : No
Null samples used in CRC calculations : Yes
Used interface : Native Win32 interface for Win NT & 2000
Gap handling : Appended to previous track

Used output format : User Defined Encoder
Selected bitrate : 1024 kBit/s
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Add ID3 tag : No
Command line compressor : C:\Program Files (x86)\Exact Audio Copy\Flac\flac.exe
Additional command line options : -V -8 -T "artist=%a" -T "title=%t" -T "album=%g" -T "date=%y" -T "tracknumber=%n" -T "genre=%m" %s


TOC of the extracted CD

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1 | 0:00.00 | 8:05.42 | 0 | 36416
2 | 8:05.42 | 13:11.33 | 36417 | 95774
3 | 21:17.00 | 12:10.70 | 95775 | 150594
4 | 33:27.70 | 10:16.38 | 150595 | 196832
5 | 43:44.33 | 12:07.17 | 196833 | 251374
6 | 55:51.50 | 4:38.42 | 251375 | 272266


Track 1

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Track 3

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Track 4

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Track 5

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Track 6

Filename F:\EACrips\Philip Glass\A Madrigal Opera. Cameo. A Symphonic Poem (FLAC)\Philip Glass-A Madrigal Opera. Cameo. A Symphonic Poem-06-Part IV - Closing.wav

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None of the tracks are present in the AccurateRip database

No errors occurred

End of status report

[CUETools log; Date: 29.05.2018 0:29:49; Version: 2.1.4]
[CTDB TOCID: bCpytVeKsE1eLR_ZbGbxLA8jurQ-] found.
Track | CTDB Status
1 | (11/11) Accurately ripped
2 | (11/11) Accurately ripped
3 | (11/11) Accurately ripped
4 | (10/11) Accurately ripped
5 | (11/11) Accurately ripped
6 | (11/11) Accurately ripped
[AccurateRip ID: 000f4efe-0051ccb8-510e2e06] found.
Track [ CRC | V2 ] Status
01 [78f3e288|4b843895] (04+07/11) Accurately ripped
02 [85ba5f29|fa77d890] (04+07/11) Accurately ripped
03 [117a4f01|e39ab54f] (04+07/11) Accurately ripped
04 [04d89f2e|81f749fb] (04+06/10) Accurately ripped
05 [bec10f0b|053cf5b1] (04+07/11) Accurately ripped
06 [b3e3d0db|4c06ad79] (03+07/10) Accurately ripped

Track Peak [ CRC32 ] [W/O NULL] [ LOG ]
– 95,5 [AA365522] [17027BE4]
01 70,3 [040320AF] [EB6B4BAE] CRC32
02 95,5 [C26BE9C5] [F4899A74] CRC32
03 95,5 [98F9E24D] [8B7302F8] CRC32
04 83,2 [093DD867] [05955A1F] CRC32
05 95,5 [B057161C] [B55D6694] CRC32
06 64,8 [A7C3CADA] [6ABABE06] CRC32

foobar2000 1.2 / Dynamic Range Meter 1.1.1
log date: 2018-05-29 00:34:50

––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
Analyzed: Ooppera Skaala / Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera. Cameo. A Symphonic Poem
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

DR Peak RMS Duration Track
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––
DR13 -3.05 dB -20.67 dB 8:06 01-Part I - Opening
DR14 -0.40 dB -16.34 dB 13:11 02-Part I
DR12 -0.40 dB -15.67 dB 12:11 03-Part II
DR14 -1.59 dB -21.67 dB 10:17 04-Part III
DR12 -0.40 dB -15.63 dB 12:07 05-Part IV
DR14 -3.76 dB -21.10 dB 4:39 06-Part IV - Closing
––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––

Number of tracks: 6
Official DR value: DR13

Samplerate: 44100 Hz
Channels: 2
Bits per sample: 16
Bitrate: 674 kbps
Codec: FLAC
================================================================================

Ooppera Skaala - Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera (2009)

Ooppera Skaala - Philip Glass: A Madrigal Opera (2009)

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