Via The Standing Room links, a classic article by Michael Hiltzik in the LA Times mentions two of my favorite things -- Amoeba Records and Frederic Rzewski's Coming Together! The article talks about Amoeba's success in their new LA location; I don't know why but the record collecting community is more extensive down south. The writer also asks an Amoeba buyer about the Hungaraton recording of Rzewski's work:
Indeed, armed with a list of hard-to-find CDs from several genres, I was able to stump the Berkeley floor staff on only one, an obscure Hungarian recording of the ensemble piece "Coming Together/Attica" by composer Frederic Rzewski that I've been trying to replace for years.
Can't have my copy, sorry. And earlier this month, I too was at the Berkeley Amoeba and picked up a CD by Talujon Percussion, including an interesting rendition of Coming Together. It's an accented female voice:
I think the combination of age and a greater coming together is responsible for the speed of the passing time...
but the fast-driving piano line is instead performed on something that sounds like synthesized bass although the liner notes indicate all acoustic percussion except for "amplified cardboard tube." Since the text is repeated ad infinitum, the textual interpretation and style is important else monotony results. Birgit Staudt's recitation may not be definitive; still, the underlying accompaniment is clear, precise, and the diversity of percussion compelling.
And just this week in the NY Times, Allan Kozinn reviews the eighth blackbird recording of Rzewski's music, including Coming Together:
They have, for one thing, quickly identified the thread that runs through Mr. Rzewski's work: an almost organic current of narrative tension that makes this music pure drama.
I don't take my Amoeba trips for granted but if all goes well, I'll be in the Haight tomorrow for the Bitches Brew movie and in SoCal next year for that minimalism jukebox festival.
Sam Melville again:
There are doubtless subtle surprises ahead, but I feel secure and ready...