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John Zorn: The Satyr's Play; Cerebus

Audio Samples

>Zorn, John : The Satyr's Play, for 2 percussionists
>Zorn, John : Cerberus, trio for brass

Album Summary

>Zorn, John : The Satyr's Play, for 2 percussionists
>Zorn, John : Cerberus, trio for brass
Performers Conductor Ensemble
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Composer

Notes & Reviews:

Two dramatic new worlds in sound from our downtown Alchemist who continues to confound and defy expectations well into his fourth decade of recorded activity. Scored for two percussionists, The Satyr's Play is a dramatic work that mysteriously evokes the decadent excesses of Bacchanalia and Saturnalia. Presented in book form accompanied by a esoteric text beautifully illustrated with rare drawings by the great mystical artist Austin Osman Spare, this is a work of subtle nuance and sexuality. In contrast, Cerberus, is a flamboyant and dynamic trio for brass. A demonic piece featuring three undisputed Brass virtuosos, it jumps styles, moods and genres in classic Zorn fashion. Radical, moody and colorful chamber works for the 21st century.

Notes & Reviews:

Recording information: East Side Sound, NYC.

John Zorn, whose music does not fit classical or jazz categories or even the in-between third stream classification, has constantly explored new terrain over his four-decade compositional career. He has composed film music, drawn on Jewish heritage, experimented with collages and what would later be called sampling, and pursued various conceptual approaches to improvisation. But even Zorn fans may not be prepared for this exciting piece, a score (apparently the music is pretty much written out) for two percussionists, accompanied by sound effects that include sheep bleats (one thinks of Zorn's earlier series of works based on duck calls) and, in one passage, simulated female orgasm. Donna Summer meets the avant-garde, one imagines. The idea is to evoke the Greek figure of the satyr and the related phenomena of the Roman Saturnalia and Bacchanalia festivals with their attendant dissipation. These ideas are realized in various ways over the course of the work's eight movements ("odes"), but percussionists Cyro Baptista and Kenny Wollesen are given plenty of high-energy rhythmic material and employ a huge variety of percussion instruments and textures. This is exciting stuff from beginning to end, and next to it the concluding ten-minute Cerberus, a brass trio employing a fearsome range of extended techniques, sounds almost conventional. An intriguing Zorn project, highly recommended for Zorn lovers. ~James Manheim



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Works Details

>Zorn, John : The Satyr's Play, for 2 percussionists
  • Performers: Cyro Baptista (Percussion); Kenny Wolleson (Percussion)
  • Conductor: John Zorn
  • Running Time: 3 min. 47 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary

>Zorn, John : Cerberus, trio for brass
  • Performers: David Taylor (Trombone); Marcus Rojas (Tuba); Peter Evans (Trumpet)
  • Conductor: John Zorn
  • Running Time: 10 min. 34 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary
  • Form: Chamber Music