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The Continuing Story of Counterpoint, Part 5-8

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Album Review

The compositions on this second installment of the Counterpoint series have more uniformity than previous series volumes, perhaps because all the selections were composed within a two-year span, 1977-1979. As for the music on this disc, and Borden's music in general, some critics would undoubtedly regard his uniformity as too much of a good thing, and it's true that his music is normally without much of an emotional or dynamic range. But for those who have the ears for it, the music is often involving and quite beautiful — in a civilized, understated way. Although comparisons with Bach have probably been overdone (counterpoint, after all, is a standard part of the Western musical language), Borden does seem to have a general aesthetic affinity with the early Baroque period, when music had a generalized spiritual quality and the individual ego was subordinated to a larger world of musical, philosophical, and theological ideas. Borden's music isn't overtly religious, but instead commits itself to certain large-scale ordering principles, which distinguishes it from the self-expression of later periods in classical music. One of the unusual and characteristic qualities in Borden's work, especially on this CD, is the combination of hyperkinetic 16th-note patterns and long, floating drones, which creates an aural illusion of music that is racing forward and standing still at the same time. This is especially true of the three sections of "Part 8," which have a softer, slightly romantic sensibility than their companions, and are probably the most compelling pieces on the CD. Borden performs alone on keyboards (although quite likely multi-tracked), along with the wind instruments, electric guitar, and the soprano voice of Ellen Hargis sampled and used very effectively as an instrumental color.


Born: December 25, 1938 in Boston, MA

Genre: Classical

Years Active: '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s, '90s

An innovator in electronic and minimalist music since the 1970s, David Borden made his mark as the leader of Mother Mallard, the world's first all-synthesizer ensemble. In the period 1973-1976, Mother Mallard released two albums, Mother Mallard's Portable Masterpiece Company and Like a Duck to Water. After Mother Mallard disbanded in the late 1970s, Borden developed his compositional skills, releasing Music for Amplified Keyboard Instruments in 1981. Mother Mallard regrouped and recorded Anatidae...
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The Continuing Story of Counterpoint, Part 5-8, David Borden
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