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Frederic Rzewski ‎– Coming Together / Les Moutons De Panurge / Attica. Opus One ‎– Number 20

Frederic Rzewski ‎– Coming Together / Les Moutons De Panurge / Attica. Opus One ‎– Number 20


AllMusic Review by Brian Olewnick

This brilliant early recording of Frederic Rzewski (unfortunately unavailable on disc as of 2002) showcases the composer emerging from a period in which he was largely involved with free improvisation (with the group Musica Elettronica Viva) and beginning to investigate more structured writing. Here the burgeoning minimalist movement was a prime musical influence, although on two of the pieces what strikes the listener first and foremost is the political content. "Coming Together" melds a wonderfully undulating and propulsive score that just won't give up with the impassioned reading (by Steve ben Israel) of a text written by an inmate at Attica prison documenting both his woes and his impressive resolve not to knuckle under. The words are repeated with increasing ferocity as the music goes through several permutations, eventually matching the speaker in a roaring finish. When Richard S. Clark was released from prison in 1972, he was asked by a reporter how it felt to leave Attica behind him. His response, "Attica is in front of me," provides the text for the powerful and haunting second work here. His words are spoken in additive fashion -- first just "Attica" then "Attica is" -- in a soft, almost ghostly fashion over a gently percolating score that combines sorrow and hope in a complex and rich fabric. "Les Moutons de Panurge," a completely instrumental composition, uses the same basic structural idea. A 65-note melody is performed in the sequence 1, 1-2, 1-2-3, 1-2-3-4, and so on, until the entire melody has been read with the understanding of the near-impossibility of the ensemble staying in unison for the duration. Here, as performed by the Blackearth Percussion Group, it takes on the character of a wild gamelan orchestra, perhaps slightly tipsy. It's utterly invigorating, as is the entire record. Very highly recommended.






MINT: Never opened, still in original shrink wrap.

NM: Opened, appears unplayed.

EX: A few very light surface hair-line marks with no major deterioration to the sound quality.

VG: A few light scratches and/or scuffs creating audible background noise. There is no skipping or jumping on this record unless indicated in the condition description.

A plus or minus (+ or -) denotes slightly better or slightly less than a grade, eg. VG+.

Each record has been cleaned and played to ensure the accuracy of the following grading


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