“Composer-guitarist John Schott has a fascination with the past, as well as with the convergence of idioms. The basis of the work is a series of ancient recordings, scratchy near-inaudible cylinders from the end of the 19th century that include "Twinkle Twinkle, Little Star," whistling, speeches, and a bugle call. These are used as backdrops or central voices in several of the 28 pieces that make up Shuffle Play, pieces that range from pointillist modern classical composition to free jazz to mixtures of the two. Tracks vary in length from atmospheric bits as brief as 10 seconds to more than seven minutes, while Schott's Ensemble Diglossia expands from individual soloists through small improvising groups to reach an 11-member chamber ensemble of reeds, strings, and percussion for four tracks.”
In March 2005 Eleni Karaindrou presented what she called “a scenic cantata” at the Megaron in Athens, a tour through her music for film and theatre, with musical themes newly combined and contrasted. A live audio recording, “Elegy of the Uprooting”, was issued in 2006: “The two-CD set interweaves excerpts of her music from 13 different scores spanning more than two decades, although the irresistible congruence of the music is such that newcomers to Karaindrou’s oeuvre would be forgiven for thinking this is newly composed. The music seduces by its profound beauty, tenderness and candour.”. – International Record Review. Here is the video and audio document of the event.
Elegy is the ECM leader debut by vocalist and composer Theo Bleckmann. A prolific recording artist, his association with the label dates back to Meredith Monk's 2002 date Mercy and its follow-up, Impermanence, in 2008 (Bleckmann was a member of her ensemble for 15 years). His voice was also a focal point of Julia Hulsmann's quartet on 2015's Clear Midnight: Kurt Weill & America. For a singer who draws attention to himself almost as much for what he doesn't do as what he does, Elegy is a quiet yet startling offering.
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection.
Although admittedly a posthumous release, I was very surprised at the rather dismissive tenor of many of the reviews of this album to date. Hopefully this record will be reappraised soon as being a release worthy of anyone's consideration as I feel it does enhance an already rich legacy left behind by this very fine and innovative band. (So what if Charisma wanted to ride the slipstream of the lucrative ELP juggernaut?)