I’m intensely interested in the different approaches that composers take to setting text so I was intrigued to read the blurb on a new CD release by American composer Jackson Greenberg. The text is Rilke’s Der Panther and the approach is to take an old (anonymous) recording of an actor reading the poem and provide an orchestral accompaniment for it. It’s quite short; just shy of eight minutes, and the music is an atmospheric variant on largely tonal minimalism. It’s not a big surprise to discover the composer works mainly in film and TV. It’s unusual and worth a listen.
The companion piece on the rather short CD is a sixteen minute piece for electronics and orchestra called First Light; which also gives its name to the album. This is hard core minimalism. It starts with fragments of pre-recorded music “stretched” by software. It layers those and then brings in further layers of live music gradually building up denser textures in a slow, meditative, atmospheric way. And then it fades to nothing.
There are no performance credits for The Panther beyond it being recorded in (beautiful, downtown) Burbank. First Light was recorded in Bratislava with the Slovak National Symphony Orchestra under Arturo Rodriguez.
First Light will be released by Ravello Records next month. Details here.