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Harley Gaber: I Saw My Mother Ascending Mount Fuji [Digipak] *

Track List

>I Saw My Mother Ascending Mount Fuji, for multi-track violin, processed alto flute & tape

Album Remarks & Appraisals:

When the London Philharmonic Orchestra and the Elgar Society planned a concert to mark the 50th anniversary of Elgar's death, Vernon Handley was the natural choice of conductor. Handley's feeling for English music was second to none, and his rapport with Elgar's music in particular is clear in these performances recorded live at the anniversary concert. 'Sea Pictures' evokes contrasting images of the sea from five poems sung here by Dame Janet Baker, a peerless interpreter of the work. The First Symphony is one of Elgar's finest works for orchestra - hailed after its premiere as "the greatest symphony of modern times'.

Album Notes

Liner Note Author: Harley Gaber.

Recording information: 1973-05-??&1973-08-??&2009-.

Photographer: S. Haag.

Harley Gaber completed I Saw My Mother Ascending Mount Fuji, a work for multi-track violin, processed alto flute, and tape, in 2009, but it substantially incorporates music written and recorded much earlier, including a piece for alto flute from 1968 and a violin solo from 1972. Gaber uses two iterations of the violin piece, "Michi," a spare, abstract, almost Feldman-esque work that incorporates extensive silences to create an atmosphere of starkness and desolation, and "Chimyaku," a similarly minimal solo for alto flute. The essential fabric of the piece consists of the tape part, made up primarily of ambient natural sounds continuously undergirded with various wind sounds as a unifying element. Gaber's overlay of the tape part with the instrumental solos is haunting and eerily ominous. Although its subtly shifting textures are always in motion, the single-track, hourlong piece seems more like the trancelike evocation of a landscape -- physical or emotional? -- than a conventional musical development. Gaber is completely successful in creating a quietly mysterious and unsettling musical experience that operates on a subliminal rather than a rational level. The slowly unfolding work should appeal to fans of the late 20th century West Coast avant-garde -- music that relies for its impact more on intuition and the sensuality of the sound itself than on an easy groove or rigorous systematic processes. ~ Stephen Eddins


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