Exposé Online banner

Henry Brant — Collection 3
(Innova 410, 2005, CD)

by Sean McFee, Published 2006-05-01

Collection 3 Cover art

With many of the great modernist composers now quite advanced in age, it seems incredible that some people predating the movement might still be creating new works. The venerable Henry Brant (b. 1913) composes “acoustic spatial” music, often requiring multiple orchestra or ensembles positioned strategically around a hall, and never with amplification. Antiphonal music for multiple ensembles actually dates back to the Renaissance, so in a way Brant could be considered an ultra neo-classicist. Three compositions make up the latest Innova collection of works. “Wind, Water, Clouds & Fire” is 35-minutes long, performed principally by the Present Music Ensemble (whose Haunted America I reviewed for #29), along with the Milwaukee Youth Symphony Orchestra and four vocal ensembles. Many higher pitches are used here; exotic timbres like piccolo trumpet, an Eastern sort of exoticism, the mixing of tonal colors reminiscent of Ravel, soft chanting vocals as in a ritual. Something like George Crumb, or maybe Opus Avantra if you insist on a progressive connection. “Litany of Tides” features a large orchestra, small orchestra, solo violinist and four sopranos. The individual parts are more independent of each other in this piece, so that the listener can somehow choose what they experience by what they pay attention to; it’s a bit like John Cage’s “HPSCHD” in that respect. “Trinity of Spheres” uses the same strategy, but with three separately conducted orchestra. The orchestral writing brings to mind Ives, fitting for a composer continuing the American classical tradition solidly and without fanfare.


Filed under: New releases, Issue 33, 2005 releases

Related artist(s): Henry Brant

Latest news

2017-10-13
Moonjune to Distribute Tony Levin's Back Catalog – It has been announced that Moonjune will now handle distribution for Tony Levin's catalog of releases. These great albums will now be a bit easier to get hold of, so check out the site and see what you're missing. The veteran of King Crimson and Stick Men worked with a host of great players on these albums, and we've reviewed most of them over the course of the years. » Read more

2017-09-26
Bandcamp Shines Light on Niches We Like – Bandcamp has developed into one of the best places to discover new music, and even a lot of old music is showing up there. In addition, their staff has been producing periodic articles spotlighting some interesting stylistic areas. On 20 September, they published one called "The New Face of Prog Rock" which bears checking out. » Read more

2017-09-06
Holger Czukay RIP – Holger Czukay, a musical experimentalist without boundaries who has been involved with expanding the sound palette of rock music since the late 60s, has died at the age of 79. After studying with Karlheinz Stockhausen in the early 60s, he became fascinated with the possibilities of rock music, and was a co-founder of the pioneering group Can. He leaves behind an impressive body of work both as musician and producer. » Read more

2017-08-22
John Abercrombie RIP – Another of the greats of jazz guitar has left us. John Abercrombie plied his way through a beautiful series of albums on the ECM label as well as bringing his talent to bear on albums by many of jazz's greatest artists. From his early work in the group Dreams to Gateway and outstanding work with Billy Cobham, Jack DeJohnette, Kenny Wheeler, and many more to his own trios and quartets, he brought a unique instrumental voice to the world. » Read more

2017-07-27
Yestival Dates Beef up the Beat – Word reaches us that Dylan Howe (son of guitarist Steve Howe) will be joining Yes on their "Yestival" tour, drumming alongside longtime band member Alan White. » Read more


Previously in Exposé...

Magnum - Progressive Classics – This English "pomp-rock" (as those silly British metal mags used to call it) band has been around for donkey's years. Wide spread fame always seemed to elude them however, but given the...  (2000) » Read more



Listen & discover



Print issues