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Symphony Nos. 8 & 10 (The Mysteries)

Glenn Branca

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Album Review

Subtitled "The Mystery" and "The Mystery Pt. 2," these two symphonies concern themselves with the two big questions: Life and Death. They are both scored for eight guitars, two basses, keyboard, drums, vocal and two conductors. Symphony No. 8 has two movements: "The Passion" and "Spiritual Anarchy" that both build upon sustained tones that create a counterpoint by means of delays in scale and other patterns and microtunings. The effect is tremendously intense and beautiful. There are also two movements in Symphony No. 10: "The Final Problem" and "The Horror." These are built in a similar manner to the techiques in No. 8 but the tuning and scales employed are different, creating another sensation yet still as intense and continuous in rhythm as No. 8. Especially successful is the final movement, "The Horror," which employs masses of moving clusters that are very close in tuning and thoroughly convincing in the image they portray. It is a gigantic chant of worlds never before imagined. Incidentally, the CD comes with a nifty holographic cover that visually simulates Branca's dense textures. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Rovi


Born: 06 October 1948 in Harrisburg, PA

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '70s, '80s, '90s, '00s

Glenn Branca's compositions center around multiple guitars — four or more, heavily amplified — augmented by a rock-based rhythm section of drums and bass. In later works, the composer began adding other instruments, including mallet guitar, keyboards, and occasionally a second drummer. Branca's minimalist compositions frequently require unusual guitar tunings — more recent works have them strung with two sets of three strings tuned an octave apart. Many of downtown New York City's...
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Symphony Nos. 8 & 10 (The Mysteries), Glenn Branca
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