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John Zorn: Rimbaud

Album Summary

>Zorn, John : Rimbaud, suite for chamber ensemble & electronics
Conductor Ensemble Composer

Notes & Reviews:

An eclectic suite inspired by revolutionary French writer Arthur Rimbaud, whose incredible life and work continues to be a symbol for rebellion and visionary freedom to this day. Beginning the program is Bateau Ivre, a remarkable chamber work whose tempo is constantly in flux, and contains some of Zorn's most colorful and lyrical writing. A Season in Hell is a powerful electronic composition and features Zorn's personal soundscapes enhanced by Ikue Mori's scintillating laptop. Illuminations brings together the best of classical and jazz with a fully-notated virtuosic piano part accompanied by an improvised rhythm section. Concluding the CD is an outrageous file card piece with Zorn on sax, piano, guitar and foley effects and renegade actor/director Mathieu Amalric reading texts from the intense and hilarious L'Album Zutique. Four compositions inspired by the 19th century poetic genius and formidable hell-raiser Arthur Rimbaud, whose revolutionary writing and lifestyle continues to inspire artists into the 21st century!

Notes & Reviews:

Rimbaud is a fascinating collection of four stylistically diverse, wildly imaginative, mostly manic pieces by John Zorn, all inspired by the 19th century French Symbolist poet. Zorn takes the meaning of eclectic to a new dimension, but his individual albums are generally more stylistically consistent, so it's intriguing to hear such a wide aesthetic spectrum on one release, a testimony to the breadth of his compositional vision and mastery. "Bateau Ivre," for a standard "Pierrot ensemble" plus percussion, might almost be mistaken for a product of the modernist academic scene of the 1960s, but Zorn's quirky, madcap imagination keeps it constantly engaging. It's a virtuoso tour de force for its seven players and the Talea Ensemble, led by Brad Lubman, play it with a wit and dazzling lightness that capture its soaring, spiraling momentum. "A Season in Hell" features the composer and Ikue Mori using laptop, samples, and electronics to colorfully evoke the dark, hallucinogenic chaos of the poem in an idiom characteristic of Zorn's noise-related pieces. "Illuminations" for jazz trio (Stephen Gosling, piano; Trevor Dunn, bass; Kenny Wollesen, drums) is a high-energy example of the composer's manic avant-garde jazz. "Conneries," a piece whose structure is derived from the shuffling file cards of musical ideas, features actor and director Mathieu Amalric reciting, howling, and shrieking a Rimbaud text, underlaid by Zorn's collage-like accompaniment on alto sax, piano, organ, guitar, drums, and Foley effects. The album is a non-negotiable must-have for the composer's fans and offers a suggestion of his terrific versatility for anyone interested in sampling his work. ~ Stephen Eddins


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Works Details

>Zorn, John : Rimbaud, suite for chamber ensemble & electronics
  • Conductor: Bradley Lubman
  • Ensemble: Talea Ensemble
  • Running Time: 47 min. 20 sec.
  • Period Time: Contemporary