Index of Artists
Browse by Artist: ANDERSON, BETH
Swales and Angels
NEW WORLD RECORDS
"Beth Anderson (b. 1950) writes chamber music of great beauty, generally simple tonality, and luminous textures. She's adopted a deceptively unmilitant motto --
'To make something beautiful is revolutionary'
-- and describes herself oxymoronically on her web page as a
'neo-romantic, avant-garde composer'
, words that wouldn't fit together for any other composer. Her chamber music betrays its twentieth-century roots in its pervasive use of collage. Her preferred form, and one she invented herself, is the swale: a term for a meadow or marsh in which a lot of plants grow together, and by extension a musical piece in which diverse musical ideas and even styles grow side by side. In Anderson's swales, then -- five of which are on this recording -- different themes, styles, moods pop up and succeed each other with cheery disregard for linear development-though, as in any field, the same plants recur amongst each other, giving the disparate collections a family unity. Thus she has evolved a music that seems texturally and tonally conventional measure-by-measure, but whose succession of styles -- modal, nineteenth-century, Bartókian, bluegrass -- chart out radical postmodern territory indeed. Yet, unlike the collage techniques of Cage, Stockhausen, and John Zorn, Anderson is never abrupt or mechanical, but smooths her swale elements together in an intuitively convincing stream of consciousness."
"This CD has pieces with an auctioneer, a Kentucky farm with birds & clover, a jazz dancer, a quivering, vibrating, sexually tinged piece full of women saying supplication, a saint dying in flames, a drum piece about frustration, mother/daughter miscommunication, a pipe organ, and punk rap with overtones of yoga. Many of Anderson's compositions from 1973-1979 use words or parts of words to make either all or part of the music. Sometimes the music is derived from the words. Some of it is considered to be part of the genre known as text-sound. Beth Anderson (b. January 3, 1950, Lexington, Kentucky) is a composer of avant-garde works that have been performed all around the world and that have brought her much acclaim. Over the years, Ms. Anderson has studied with Robert Ashley, Larry Austin, John Cage, and Terry Riley, among others. She is a pioneer in the field of text-sound music, which uses words and phonemes to make a kind of vocal-percussive music."
Index of Artists