“As I transcribe my interview with Brad Wells, founder of the innovative ensemble Roomful of Teeth, I change the tempo in my Garage Band recording so that his voice becomes slower, more the tempo of my typing. As I make adjustments, his voice starts to sound strange to my ear. Our phone connection was not great, and when I slow the audio down his voice begins to morph into something I recognize, but can’t really understand. Then this becomes interesting to me, and I forget about writing this article, and just begin fiddling with the controls. I crank up the reverb and Brad Wells is now inside of a cave. I pin the compression knob and he sounds very conservative all of a sudden. It occurs to me, I am doing something like what the eight-voice vocal group has been doing for ten years. I am having fun playing with the voice.”
“Each of the tapestries is a time machine,” Lang says. “They have the past, the future and the present all at once. You have this ancient narrative, but that story is told with 16th century Flemish animals, and dress, in northern Europe. The characters are involved in this weird honor fight, happening in human time, but surrounded by a landscape that looks like paradise.”
Lang's composition will be sung by the adventurous vocal octet Roomful of Teeth, with instrumentalists from the new music stalwarts Callithumpian Consort.
“Bychkov Conducts ‘An Alpine Symphony,’ ” trumpets the page on the New York Philharmonic’s website for its subscription concerts beginning on Thursday. That, to be sure, is no small thing. The estimable maestro Semyon Bychkov is presenting Strauss’s outsize tone poem “An Alpine Symphony,” which merits respect it seldom receives.
But the other piece on the program is dismissed as an afterthought: “Plus Berio’s ‘Sinfonia’ with Grammy-winning vocal ensemble Roomful of Teeth.”
Hello? Come again? This is news of the first order.