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Album Review

Present Music “Haunted America” [Innova]

cujo   9/23/2005   A Library, CD

Music commissioned and performed by Milwaukee’s Present Music chamber ensemble for their 2001-02 season. The Innova label was new to me, but I now dig it.
Jerome Kitzke – HAUNTED AMERICA – (18:22): This 9/11 response piece is the highlight of the disc. The composer leads the percussion & chamber ensemble reciting snippets of Allen Ginsberg: ‘Hey America – What Haunts You?’. This wild and potentially emotional ride has an arresting bells-and-whistles start and on the way you will hear strains of native american, pop, and klezmer music. I even heard strains of China and Bobby McFerrin. And it ends with the always welcome outburst of laughter.
Michael Torke – SONG OF ISAIAH – (13:45): Yuck. A woman interminably sings the Song of Isaiah over some indistinguishable circle-of-5ths and rhythmic structures.
Kimmo Hakola – CHAMBER CONCERTO – (31:55 total): Yet another example of Finland exporting fantastic new music. Here is a 5-part suite with fun-to-pronounce Italian subtitles. I give permission to play individual movements by themselves. Very dramatic overall work with moods ranging from the angry (Sono furioso!) to the lyric (Sono amoroso!).
— Cujo, Sept. 2005

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