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MP3 David Brown, Chris Turner and Rachel Malone - Ovid's Metamorphoses

Classic Greek tales read by Chris Turner set to contemporary (not new age) music using a variety of instruments from the didgeridu and bamboo flute to synthesizers and violin.

10 MP3 Songs
SPOKEN WORD: With Music, CLASSICAL: Contemporary

In this recording we set out to compose music that is evocative of the ancient roots of Ovid’s tales while keeping a modern sensibility. The instruments used for Book Two are a variety of ethnic instruments in non-standard tunings. These instruments are stretched and transformed through a delay processing network and combined with FM synthesis and material generated with feedback networks. Selections 8 & 9 from Book Eight use an archaic hexatonic scale attributed to Terpander of Lesbos, circa 700 BCE. The ratios used in this scale are: 1/1, 11/10, 11/9, 11/8, 11/7, 11/6. It has a serviceable 5th in the 11/8, but no third, putting it outside the realm of western Triadic harmony. The scale is quite singable, however, and generally minor in quality that is quite appropriate to Ovid. The instruments here are the Australian didgeridoo in C, the violin, gongs and FM synthesis tuned to the hexatonic scale. Feedback is again used for atmosphere.

David Brown
Recordings and production, didgeridu, feedback networks, percussion, synthesizers, noise makers.

First attracted by the atmospheric sounds in Art Rock bands such as Yes and King Crimson, David studied music at the University of Iowa and soon discovered the music of Karlheinz Stockhausen, John Cage and Iannis Xenakis. He became particularly interested in Musique Concrète which uses recordings of natural sounds as source material for compositions. His considerable travel around the United States and work in recording studios opened his ears to the musicality in all sounds and in 1985 he moved to Oakland, California to study at the Center for Contemporary Music at Mills College. There he studied composition and Saxophone with Antony Braxton. His interest in telling stories with sound was strongly reinforced by his studies with Kenneth Gaburo whose command of both music and language was extraordinary. David has created sound design for theater and dance productions and produced several CDs of music both solo and in collaboration with others. Now living in Providence, Rhode Island, he combines found sounds with acoustic and electronic instruments to create collages of orchestral density. Drawing upon the musical languages of Africa, Latin America and Australia, he combines traditional styles with modern western musical aesthetic. The focus of his compositions is on the act of listening and its interaction with memory to evoke, sometimes unexpected, emotional responses in the listener.

Chris Turner
Spoken voice, auto harp, bamboo flute, shawms, gongs, jews harp.

Born into a musical family in London, England, Chris Turner learned harmonica and recorder as a child. He has been playing professionally since 1967 working in a variety of idioms including Folk, Rock, Blues, Jazz, Country, Early and Avant-garde music. While traveling extensively in Europe and Africa, he assimilated many different musical styles. Early in the 1970*s, Chris studied composition with Christopher Small and improvisation with John Stevens. In 1975, Chris Turner was recognized for his virtuosity when he was awarded the European Harmonica Championship. Chris has toured with numerous professional bands and appears on many recordings . He has worked extensively as a Composer, Music Director, and Arranger for various theatrical organizations including Rhode Island*s prestigious Trinity Repertory Company, as well as for films, animations, radio and t.v. Besides a variety of harmonicas, Chris is also proficient on flutes, bagpipes, shawms, keyboards, brass, synthesizers and some percussion.

Rachel Maloney
Fiddle, psaltery, gongs, jews harp, percussion

Born in the coal mining town of Norton, Virginia where her father worked in the mines. Deep in the heart of Appalachia, her love of fiddle music developed at an early age. Living later in North Carolina, her repertoire continued to grow, remaining predominantly Appalachian.
While attending the Royal College of Art in London, England, Rachel''s musical horizons greatly widened with the discovery of music from Ireland, England, Wales, Scotland and the Shetlands. Traveling extensively throughout Europe and West Africa, her ears were opened to new, exciting and eclectic forms of traditional music. She earned her living from performing, lecturing & teaching, typically touring for ten months out of the year.
The bands she was involved in reached as far north as Canada and as far south as Florida, remaining mostly east of the Mississippi, venturing frequently to Europe. In 1987, Rachel was offered a position as performer, composer & musical director at Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, Rhode Island. During this time, she has continued to do one major tour a year, usually to Europe, after shorter tours to North Carolina and Virginia. Her musical interests have further developed to include film and T.V. scores, electronic and multi-media collaborations and new music compositions.

REVIEW of Metamorphoses: Readings from Book II & Book VIII, by Chris Turner, Rachel Maloney, and David Brown.

Ovid, the poet of pleasure, was born about ninety miles east of Rome, in what was not yet (not for nearly another couple of millennia) Italy. He was a baby in the time of Julius Caesar and wrote verses naughty enough to get himself exiled to the coast of the Black Sea by Augustus. The Art of Love is probably his best known work; in it he gives advice about seduction. (What I remember best: If there''s a mote of dust on a woman''s breast, brush it away-and if there is no dust, brush anyway!)

In Rolfe Humphries'' translation, Ovid''s Metamorphoses is the source of a just-released CD, spoken-voice backed by music. Miraculous tales of passion and adventure are drawn from Books II and VIII. Among them is The Story of the Raven, and the Raven''s Story. “The raven once was white, in fact, so much so,/ Not snowy doves, nor swans, were ever whiter,” begins the voice of Chris Turner, and he speaks as an eyewitness to how the bird''s loquacity was his undoing. “There was a girl,” Turner continues, so intimately that the listener trusts him to explain everything--for many of us are not now what we once were. Likewise when Mercury stole cattle and hid them in a forest, and the theft was seen by a servant tending brood-mares whom the god swore to silence (“You needn''t do it for nothing; pick a heifer/ For your reward”), even a naive listener doubts the old man''s reply (“Don''t worry, stranger. That old boulder/ Will talk before I do”)--but what will happen next?

The tales are at once ancient and up-to-the-minute, and so is the musical accompaniment, a fusion of auto-harp, bamboo flute, conch shell, violin, gongs, didgeridu, and electronic manipulations one needn''t understand in order to tingle to them. Sound creates the world of enchantment. There is the black abode where Minerva confronts Envy, batting the doors with her spear-butt; where the Calydonian Boar, huge, tusked, with blood-shot eyes and burning breath, avenged outrage to Diana, she who had slipped the mind of King Oeneus when he was thanking the gods for a rich harvest. What the boar did, and how the heroes responded, and for what reward, and with what untoward consequences: this is the substance of Chris Turner''s thrilling narrative. All eight tales, with their Prelude and Postlude, are primitive and at the same time futuristic in their unfamiliar musical embellishment.

Metamorphoses is recommended for children to whom the stories will come as news; to anyone who has studied the classics in either the original or a translation; to older folks nostalgic for radio; to explorers of new musics; and to anyone at all whose automobile is provided with a CD-player. These narratives repay repeated listenings, for the language grips and Chris Turner''s voice is spell-binding.

-Blossom S. Kirschenbaum

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