Concerto of Deliverance Album Comment
This was written by Tom Radcliffe following an advance
auditioning of "Concerto of Deliverance", and is posted here with his
approval. [Thank you Tom!] Tom is a physicist and engineer. -------- Original Message --------
-------- Original Message --------
I received the disk a few days ago and have now listened to it half a dozen times.
I like it a lot.
The paper that came with the disk is somewhere on my desk, I think, hiding amongst the bank statements, bills, my daybook, a Cancer Society lottery flyer, skewed stacks of floppies and CDs, various missives from teachers at my kids schools, SQL schemas, source code printouts, notes on the foundations of thermodynamics, paperweights consisting of rocks from various beaches and mountains I have known, Carolyn's shark attacking a scuba diver made from bronze nails, books on numerical methods, psychology, plant biology, database administration, 3D visualization, and a cat named Yogurt who is sitting on my mouse and making it hard to edit this. Despite this highly efficient work environment (everything within arms-reach, what could be more efficient than that?) I can't seem to lay my hands on that one piece of paper, so bear with my numerical references, please!
Let me get the few negatives out of the way first, then I'll feel free to enthuse!
To someone of my generation (I'm 41) synthesizers have a tendency to create Alan Parsons flashbacks, and on first hearing I swear I heard the rather unfortunate, monotonous rhythmicity of '70's-era synthetic music. Curiously, on my most recent listening I was not only not able to hear this, but was not able to identify where I thought I had heard it previously. I conclude from this that you've managed to create a self-modifying CD, which has mysteriously morphed into something else on repeated playings, as it is simply not possible that my initial response was in error :-) Listening to "The Gathering" again just now I think I can now spot where I was picking this sense up from, but I believe the effect really is in me as a biased listener rather than in the music.
The words of the first song as I hear them are:
O to be a little child
The last two lines have a variant sense that has nothing to do with childhood and doesn't really speak to the theme of "deliverance", although it did make me laugh! :-)
I love the richness and variety of the composition--I've just started to read Irshad Manji's THE TROUBLE WITH ISLAM, and I picked it up in part because after reading the first few pages I realized that for all it's written as an open letter to Muslims it's also a love letter to Canadians, because the openness to and tolerance of variety in Canadian society provided her with the opportunity to ask questions and find answers that would never have been permitted to her in a society bound by mainstream Islamic orthodoxies. So the fact that the work references many different musical traditions really appeals to me.
My theoretical understanding of concertos is limited, but from what I know the essence of a concerto is to have several voices that are used to contrast against each other, and I'd say this work achieves that result in many dimensions: there is the contrast between the sung, the spoken, and the purely instrumental parts, the musical contrasts between themes, and finally the contrasts between musical traditions. That makes for a lovely, layered work.
The playfulness of many of the passages is also delightful: what's "deliverance" all about if not the freedom to play? To be joyous and frivolous?
The song, "The Spirit of Light" is WONDERFUL! Its "spiritual" sensibility, both musically and lyrically, is deeply moving, uplifting. It "speaks of rising and is the rising itself", and on the basis of this one song--to say nothing of the rest of the work--you have achieved what you set out to do. Likewise, "You'll Find Me".
Given my personal preferences, the vocal passages appeal to me the most--I love the human voice and the spoken word above all other kinds of art. But the instrumental movements capture your theme as well, and while they're well outside my competency to judge professionally, overall they are quite beautiful. "Transfiguration", which speaks to me of deep skies and open spaces, I find particularly appealing; richly evocative and flowing outward.
I think you've done a very good thing in producing this. I hope you profit from it!
Concerto of Deliverance