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GABURO, KENNETH - Lingua II: Maledetto / Antiphony VIII

Format: CD
Label & Cat.Number: Pogus Productions POGUS P21047-2
Release Year: 2008
Price (incl. 19% VAT): €13.00

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"The work and thought of the American composer Kenneth Gaburo (1926-1993) exhibited many striking changes during his lifetime. In fact, while the world of commercial endeavor still insists that artists develop a recognizable personal "style," Gaburo's life-work can be seen as one of continual change and exploration, rather than one of codification and promotion. Some of these changes are beautifully illustrated by the two works on this CD, Maledetto, for seven speaking voices, from 1967-68, and Antiphony VIII (Revolution), for percussionist and electronic tape, from 1982-3. Both are intricate and powerful works, both take their inspiration from "non-musical" materials, and both require virtuosity of a most uncommon order. However, beyond that, the two works could not be more different.
Maledetto is a wild choral piece, a great complex cry, a work that, while reveling in a surface texture of innuendo, word play, and pseudo- and real- history, spoken/shouted/sung by 7 amazing speakers, contains within itself a deep and profound celebration of the body, the physical, the sexual. It is one of the earliest of Gaburo's works where his concern for holistic thinking and art-making comes to the fore. This sort of thinking was in the air, of course ¬ many works were written at this time that were multi-layered in their meaning and intent, but Maledetto seems unique. It's combination of profundity and what might be called adolescent sniggering, and almost every emotional state in between, seems unprecedented. The subject of the piece is the word screw, in all its connotations, from the sexual to the mechanical, from the mildly obscene to the boisterous, with diversions along the way into topics such as perfume manufacture, printing, classical design, and structural linguistics, all of which connect with the small ridged, groovy object of attention.
Speaking voices also figure in Antiphony VIII, but here they are the voices of people giving their heartfelt reactions to the notion that nuclear war has made their lives expendable. This work was created at least 15 years after Maledetto, and the boisterous energy of the Sexual Revolution, one of the earliest counter-cultural movements of the mid-1960s, has given place to the grim organizational determination of the various Anti-Nuclear movements of the 1980s. Gaburo's attitude has also changed. If Maledetto is a celebration, Antiphony VIII is a wake, and a wake-up call. Not content merely to protest, or to document people's reactions, the percussion, electronics, concrete sounds, and voices in this piece each embody within them Gaburo's analysis of the most common attitudes people have to the problem of governments treating them as expendable - helplessness, indifference, anger, uncertainty, and presents them all to us as a summary, and a questioning of our own attitudes to the problem. Gaburo the deep analyst of phenomena is still here, but now his analytical mind is dissecting not just a problem, but the wide variety of people's responses to that problem ¬ both as a structural resource, and as a means perhaps of intuiting the way forward."
[Warren Burt (from the liner notes)]

"Gaburo (1926-1993) is one of those many pioneering US-composers like Cowell, Cage, Nancarrow, Partch, etc. But he is one of lesser known ones. With this cd Pogus makes two works by him available. The first one 'Lingua II: Maledetto' (composition for 7 Virtuoso Speakers), composed in 1967-68, was first released on CRI in 1974. The liner notes Gaburo wrote for this release are reprinted here. The recording of this composition however is another one then released by CRI, but dating from the same period. June 10th, 1973 to be exact. The track opens with high pitched non-verbal throat sounds. After a few minutes the narrator starts reading a text about the all the connotations and meanings of the word 'screw'. Then two other voices join, reciting also texts concerning this word, etc., etc. Later on to be followed by a quartet. Sometimes the voices speak simultaneously, sometimes one after another. Sometimes several voices speak the same text. At other times not. Sometimes there is a out of phase reading of the same text by several speakers. It sounds very theatrical. No wonder as Gaburo composed this work as a part of a massive 6-hour theater work Called LINGUA. In 'Maladetto' Gaburo experiments with language and meaning, trying to create a dramatic and theatrical situation. I'm not completely sure but I think this is a live recording, using no overdubs and editing. The second composition 'Antiphony VIII' is written for tape and percussion in 1982-83. The percussion is played by Steven Schick. The recording dates from 1984. Alas the voices on the tape sound very muffled, and one cannot always hear what they say. The percussion playing becomes more and more intense during the piece, becoming increasingly involved in what the voice speaks about (nuclear war). So also in this piece theatrical aspects are present. Because of this quality it may be that both works on this cd still sound very much alive." [DM /Vital Weekly]