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Lewis, George – “Les Excersices Spirituels” – [Tzadik]

“Ancient philosophy should not be viewed simply as a system of abstract discourses but as a set of practices or ‘spiritual exercises’ that aim at individual and social transformation.” -Pierre Hadot

George Lewis brings us three modern classical pieces in which he composes and/or provides live electronic processing and spatialization performance. The pieces are performed by three different New Music chamber orchestras that are each brilliant in both their technical skill and unsettling emotion. The title piece, firmly rooted in philosophical traditions, moves elegantly through both composition and improvisation carried by the dynamic interplay of flute and strings set in counterpoint to the guitar work and bass clarinet rants and musings. The electronic manipulations give the acoustic performance a fragmentary, dream-like experience. Hello Mary Lou, posed as an alternative soundtrack to the experimental film Mary Lou, presents a tense drone that creeps and creeps, refusing to reveal the echoes of a lost chamber piece. Bassoon and tuba shine! Ikons was composed for an acoustic octet with no electronic processing but instead used for a live interactive art installment where huge pyramidic ‘Ikons’ respond to visitor movement. More bassoon! Lewis uses the computer software/live electronic processing as an ontological framework to explore the possibilities of improvisation in the modern day. Enjoy!

  • Reviewed by abacus on November 29, 2011 at 6:44 pm
  • Filed as A Library,CD
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