Exposé Online banner

Henry Brant — Collection 3
(Innova 410, 2005, CD)

by Sean McFee, Published 2006-05-01

Collection 3 Cover art

With many of the great modernist composers now quite advanced in age, it seems incredible that some people predating the movement might still be creating new works. The venerable Henry Brant (b. 1913) composes “acoustic spatial” music, often requiring multiple orchestra or ensembles positioned strategically around a hall, and never with amplification. Antiphonal music for multiple ensembles actually dates back to the Renaissance, so in a way Brant could be considered an ultra neo-classicist. Three compositions make up the latest Innova collection of works. “Wind, Water, Clouds & Fire” is 35-minutes long, performed principally by the Present Music Ensemble (whose Haunted America I reviewed for #29), along with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and four vocal ensembles. Many higher pitches are used here; exotic timbres like piccolo trumpet, an Eastern sort of exoticism, the mixing of tonal colors reminiscent of Ravel, soft chanting vocals as in a ritual. Something like George Crumb, or maybe Opus Avantra if you insist on a progressive connection. “Litany of Tides” features a large orchestra, small orchestra, solo violinist and four sopranos. The individual parts are more independent of each other in this piece, so that the listener can somehow choose what they experience by what they pay attention to; it’s a bit like John Cage’s “HPSCHD” in that respect. “Trinity of Spheres” uses the same strategy, but with three separately conducted orchestra. The orchestral writing brings to mind Ives, fitting for a composer continuing the American classical tradition solidly and without fanfare.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Henry Brant

Latest news

2019-04-10
The Pineapple Thief to Tour North America – November and December of 2019 will see The Pineapple Thief bringing their music to Canada, Mexico, and the US, and famed drummer Gavin Harrison will be on board. The band has been touring extensively in Europe, but North America will be new territory for them. » Read more

2019-03-25
Scott Walker RIP – Noel Scott Engel, better known as Scott Walker, was one of the most intriguing and enigmatic musical figures in the second half of the 20th Century. His strange career started with The Walker Brothers, an American pop group that featured no one named Walker and no brothers. After moving to England in 1965, they had a series of hit singles. Scott's solo work started with Scott in 1967. Starting in the 80s, his work took an increasingly avant-garde turn. » Read more

2019-03-20
Freedom to Spend Unearths June Chikuma's Archives – Jun (June) Chikuma is well known for her video game and anime soundtracks, but she also released an album of experimental electronic music back in 1986 called Divertimento where she indulged the kind of spontaneity that wouldn't work in a soundtrack. RVNG Int'l label Freedom to Spend is bringing this overlooked item to broader attention with a deluxe reissue. » Read more

2019-03-03
Seaprog 2019 Lineup Almost Complete – The Seaprog festival in Seattle is scheduled for June 7-9 this year, and they've announced their lineup of performers. The revitalized Trettioåriga Kriget will cap Friday night, perennial favorites Marbin are on Saturday, and District 97 will finish off the fest on Sunday night. In support, they've booked a stellar variety of artists from the Northwest and around the world, including EchoTest, Markus Reuter and Trey Gunn, and the live debut of the amazing Troot project. » Read more

2019-02-21
You Can Be Part of an Ambient Electronic Project – The Gesture of History is a new electronic project put together by Sam Rosenthal of Black Tape for a Blue Girl, Steve Roach, and violist Sam Shadow. The music started as an instrumental track Rosenthal was working on for a Black Tape album, but took on a life of its own and demanded further enhancements. The majority of the funds raised will go to manufacturing costs for LP and CD editions, as well as other items as detailed on the Kickstarter page. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Nova - Blink – A logical precursor to Brand X, Nova is an Italian fusion band that features the mind-numbing bass and drum interplay of Brand X, but follows through with guitar, sax and vocals as well. Vocals are in...  (1993) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues