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Symphony No. 2 (The Peak of the Sacred)

Glenn Branca

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Album Review

The legendary live performance at St. Mary's Church on May 14, 1982. Scored for eight mallet guitars, taped harmonic guitars, bass drums, metal percussion and drums. The first movement, "Slow Mass," has magnificently dense, giant clusters and scale patterns describing the image of a slowly moving soundmass. The second movement, entitled "Radioactive Poltergeist Kitchen 1955," features Z'ev on metal percussion with gradually more massive electronically amplified crashing and random forms, punctuated at times by blasts from the drums and guitars. The third movement, "Melodrama and Nuclear Physics in the Global Theater," features sustained soft and sharp, densely layered harmonic textures that float in and around the space. The fourth movement, "Sacred Field," brings in a mass of drum rhythms, rattling metal sheets, and gradually building harmonic masses. "In the Late 20th Century the Impossible Becomes Possible (short excerpt)" is the concluding movement, and begins with mallet guitar strokes that sound like church bells. ~ "Blue" Gene Tyranny, Rovi

Biography

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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