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Three Voices for Joan La Barbara

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Album Review

Three Voices for Joan La Barbara is something of an avant-garde love fest. The poet Frank O'Hara wrote a poem called "Wind," which he dedicated to composer Morton Feldman. Feldman in turn wrote Three Voices, based on the text of "Wind," which he dedicated to vocalist/composer Joan La Barbara, who performs the work in this recording. The end result of all this mutual goodwill is a riveting piece of music. The three voices in question perform a cappella, beginning with a wordless vocal pattern that gradually articulates itself into fragments of the O'Hara poem. Like most of Morton Feldman's mature work, Three Voices for Joan La Barbara rewards the attentive listener with an astonishing range of rhythms, textures, and emotions.

Performed by the artist for whom it was written and produced to New Albion's meticulous standards, this can safely be regarded as the definitive record of one of late 20th century composition's small gems.


Born: June 8, 1947 in Philadelphia, PA

Genre: Classical

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

Virtuoso vocalist Joan La Barbara has explored the possibilities of voice and extended techniques such as multiphonics and glottal clicks since the '70s. She has performed with orchestras all over the world, from the New York Philharmonic to the Orchestra of the Hague, and has premiered operas including Robert Ashley's Now Eleanor's Idea and Jacob's Room by Morton Subotnick, with whom La Barbara cowrote The Misfortune of the Immortals. This piece (also co-written by Mark Coniglio) is an example of...
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Three Voices for Joan La Barbara, Joan La Barbara
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