Thursday, March 27, 2008



I haven't heard this yet, though it arrived yesterday with a couple of other things for review at Squidco (two nice discs, on first blush, one from Brigit Uhler and Ernesto Rodrigues and the other on hat from the Makrokosmos quartet doing Crumb, Gervasoni & Haas). I hope to begin listening tonight--it's a three disc set.

I can't recall ever really hearing Lockwood's work though I must have, on radio, over the years. I know it's always been on the fringe of my mind to do so. Partly, I confess, it's because I find her name rather wonderful. I pronounce it Ah-NEE-uh, by the way; I'm not sure if this is correct. Hope it's not just "Anna".

Then there's this other thing. At two recent concerts I attended, the generally dreadful exhumation of early Bryars pieces at Roulette and the charming Christian Wolff recital, the same chipper, spruce lady was sitting in front of me. From her conversation and the effusive greetings she received from other audience members, including Robert Ashley at both, it was obvious she was a composer of some repute. Bothered the hell out of me that I couldn't put a name to her. I mentally ran through all female composers of her approximate age--she looked in her 60s--but came up empty. Now, of course, I realize it was Ms. Lockwood.

The above assembles field recordings, interviews and other sounds derived from several trips down the Danube river, I guess a bookend of sorts to her similar project on the Hudson from the late 80s. It comes with a fairly large foldout map of the region and translations of the interviews. Nice idea for a piece. I really hope it doesn't suck.

later...

Listening to Disc One and, so far, not so thrilled. The strange thing is that there's a relatively consistent water sound--it comes and goes, but it does so throughout, thus far--and given the nature of the project, it sounds oddly interior, like water being sluiced from one container to another. There's very little air around it. The depth of the piece is surprisingly shallow with only bird and insect chirps and some wind rustle to be heard otherwise (aside from the occasional voice, various interviewees speaking in the languages one encounters along the Danube). You don't get the breadth you do in Tsunoda, for example. Not bad, just a bit arid, ironically enough. We'll see....

still later....

Second disc is better, more varied. Still, even though something with the massiveness of a river would seem to easily deserve the 167 minutes here, I'm not sure this won't end up having been better served at a shorter length.

3 comments:

Herb Levy said...

FWIW, I've always heard her name pronounced as "Ah-NAY-ah".

I like the Hudson River piece a lot, it's a nice montage of audio recordings from different sites along the river from the source to the NYC harbor.

I'm not particularly put off by the idea of interviews inserted in the Danube project because I've heard some other pieces of Lockwood's that combine voices and audio that work well, but with no prior information, I'd been anticipating this as a similarly immersive kind of piece.

Brian Olewnick said...

Yeah, not sure it's immersive enough for me, though we'll see after more listens. I think I somehow want, even when she's dealing with "small", local events, to have a sense of the vastness and complexity of the system she's documenting and I don't think I'm picking that up.

Jon said...

Brian, if you're interested in exploring more, I believe 'The Glass World' from 1970 is her most highly regarded disc, reissued last year on a Japanese label and available in the US here:

http://www.mimaroglumusicsales.com/
artists/annea+lockwood.html