Named after the 15 psalms sung by pilgrims as they ascended during their journey, Songs of Ascension is a site-specific piece composed for an eight-storey, double-helix spiral-staircase tower created by artist Ann Hamilton.
Best known for her groundbreaking vocal compositions, Meredith Monk here employs a huge choral complement accompanied by a small ensemble of portable instruments. It's an innovative, provocative but enjoyable work, exploring the relations between voices and instruments: in "Falling", strings and voices ape each others' swooping glissandi; in "Burn", repetitive staccato string stabs cycle while the vocals resolve into close microtonal harmonic clusters. Tremendous stuff.
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