In Two Worlds
In Two Worlds
Susan Fancher knows her way around a saxophone. Her current mission is to bring it into new musical relationships with the world through technology. We have come a long way from acoustic instrument + analog tape days; Some of the seven pieces on this album use intelligent computer programs that interact with the human performer and affect the direction of the piece as it goes along.
Pioneering electronic composer Morton Subotnick wrote the title track, In Two Worlds, back in 1987 but the software to perform it ("Interactor") is already obsolete. A new version using Max/MSP had to be created to make this recording possible.
Other pieces on the album are inspired by data collected by space probes, ecological niches, a tribute to Cannonball Adderly, and recognition of the twenty years of weaving that Penelope (Odysseus's wife) got up to while he was away. Composers include: Morton Subotnick, Reginald Bain, Mark Engebretson, Edmun Campion, Judith Shatin, James Paul Sain, and John Anthony Lennon.
Fancher teaches at Duke University and has performed a vast collection of electroacoustic music over the last decade with her trademark lyricism and conviction. Here is some of the best: it breathes the energy, joy, reflection and passion that fill our contemporary ears, hearts and minds.
This recording addresses the issue of historic preservation and performance practice of electronic music. The technology originally used to create In Two Worlds is no longer viable and available. Thanks to the interest of Susan Fancher and the programming chops of Jeff Heisler and Mark Bunce, the work gains new life. I love it when a work of this nature is embraced by such talents that are unwilling to let technological adversaries overcome the access to the music.
...A fun ride.
- Jay Batzner, Sequenza 21
A daring and important recording in the world of electro-acoustic music.
Any instrument is fair game for inclusion in the ever-emerging world of electro-acoustical and computer music, but the saxophone would seem to have a special place. Born out of developing technology itself in the late 19th century, with a tone that has never been rooted in one musical style, it is ideal for sonic exploration. And as this disc shows, contemporary composers have certainly responded to it. It opens with Morton Subotnik's seminal In Two Worlds, an early classic first recorded in 1988 but lost due to software issues. Fancher's silvery timbre floats in almost Gymnopédie fashion above the interactive accompaniment in the opening and then dances with it compellingly to the end. Worth the disc alone to hear this history given new life.
Judith Shatin's Penelope is a compelling piece of musique concrète using the sound and rhythm of a weaver’s loom to tell the story of Odysseus through his wife’s view. John Anthony Lennon’s Aeternauses (relatively) simple echo effects to do some marvelous sonic weaving of its own, again with Francher making it work with precise and smooth playing. She soars in Reginald Bain’s Jovian Imagesabove a sci-fi atmosphere “inspired by the sounds of the Jovian planets”, and jams through the highly interactive and textually complex SaxMax and James Paul Sain’s Slammed. The stringent “constraints” imposed by composer Edmund Campion’s Corail may be the most difficult for Francher to navigate, but the result is still intriguing. In all, a recording with performing artistry to match the compositional daring.
- Andy Druckenbrod, Gramophone
Yet more proof of a happier life through television, er, I mean, modern classical music! That's what this disc is, all right - Susan Fancher plays soprano, alto, and tenor saxophones and electronic whatsis to bring to vibrant life pieces by seven composers that yet walk among us.
...Some of this set is to get lost within, some will give the cerebral machinery a bit of a workout.
- Mark Keresman, Icon
One thing is clear: if you have any interest whatsoever in music for saxophone and electronics, then you need this disc...
...Susan Fancher plays wonderfully here, and setting aside the merits of the pieces for a moment, her control and fluency on all three saxophones is worth the price of admission...
... Precise when required, expansive when appropriate, at all times sensitive, Fancher's playing shows that she has thought carefully about every phrase...
...Even if you have no current interest in music for saxophone and electronics, get this disc and you will develop a craving for more.
- Rodney Waschka, New Music Connoisseur