Wednesday, December 07, 2005

To Ayre is Human

I got the school library to purchase Golijov's Ayre, and yesterday I had the chance to check it out and listen to it twice. I fall in between Alex Ross and Charles T. Downey, though much closer to Alex's opinion. I think Charles' problem (and Jens' in comments at ionarts) is that they approached the music as a classical work, an art song cycle. Ayre is a mongrel creature, a mix of pop, world music, art song, electronica, and performance art. The sixth song, "Wa Habibi," caught me off-guard the first time, with its heavy emphasis on glissanding synthesizers. But it has a unique charm, as does each song. Ayre somewhat reminds me of Bach's Magnificat. Each movement creates a specific character, with often sharp shifts from one movement to the next. Despite these radical differences, the work retains an overall cohesion. Ayre is definitely a lighter work, but I think it is a lot of fun to listen to, and recommend it to almost anyone.

1 comment:

jfl said...

i've recanted, since (i was listening to it while reading charles review again) and I felt the following way - which I will post when I double review this as "Crossover as it should be" - together with the Bollywood Kronos recording.

that's what I e-mailed Charles that night:

"I am listening to it right now - and I now know why ARoss loves it. Check out "Tancas serradas a muru" for its Rock-Folk groove, it's almost techno-generation drive. It reminds me a lot of _Hubert von Goisern's_ e-guitar & diatonic accordion rock/folk fusion that made folk 'cool' again in the 80s and 90s in Austria/Bavaria.
I think the appreciation of this disc really depends on the expectations of the buyer and the clientel that buys. Someone who has problems calling classical music "classical music" would dig that -- although I too, do right now.

Oooh.. and holy shit... what's going on in "Wa Habibi"? Bring me to the disco, let me groove in the Damascus sunset. And then of course it gets all melancholic, borderline saccharine - and off to the Camel-disco again. (Is "Camel-disco" politically incorrect?)
Some of the recitations are sung by arabic folk singers, I think."