Album Review

Moran, Robert – “Buddha Goes to Bayreuth” – [Neuma]

whngr   3/8/2021   A Library, CD

Demi-Sepharic Surrealist Ambiance

Sullen soprano, worrying strings, pensive operatic choral harmonies, and quiet pensive passages. Part I being the slightly more varied, powerful, and sanguine while Part II is a brooding and potentially heretical longform operatic elegy allowing the listener to float in a tepid bath of ruminative despair amid beautiful swells of cello. However, these are not single faceted affairs, many moods and emotions are conveyed on both tracks and probably have deeply considered narrative though the language being used is not one that this miserable volunteer recognizes.

Curling plumes of censure smoke before a backdrop of scorched earth. Framed by angelic minstrels with blood dripping from their sullen eyes, the Christ-child loosely wrapped in soot colored swaddling clothes yawns lethargically, unmoved by the suffering of humanity. 

Robert Moran is a prolific composer of opera, ballet, and accompaniments to theater. Based in Philadelphia, he has worked previously with many notable composers including P. Glass and has stated in interviews that he sometimes aims to offend, once writing an opera that contained a scene where Richard Wagner would be sodomized by a heaving pantheon of Hindu gods and even expressed glee in imagining his cohort’s discomfort and hesitancy in moving forward. Though not shying from controversy, he clearly takes his music very seriously, producing finely crafted compositions that seem to improve with repeated listens. “Buddha goes to Bayreuth” sounds full and complete however, it also pairs well with other minimalistic audio and is, dare I say, rife for superimposition.

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