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Vox Balaenae_George Crumb_Fine Art Music Company

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Published on Mar 27, 2016

Performed by Katarzyna Marzec-Salwinski, piano; Elivi Varga, flute; Julia Morelli, cello. On March 12, 2016. A Fine Art Music Company presentation, at Ivy Hall, Philadelphia, PA.

As the environmental movement took hold in the late 1960s and early 1970s, and “save the whales” became more than just a bumper sticker, George Crumb’s groundbreaking Vox Balaenae provided a distinct musical voice to this cause while creating a richly vivid landscape (or seascape) of sound and texture. The players each wear black half-masks throughout the performance of the work. In Crumb’s own words, “by effacing a sense of human projection, [the masks] will symbolize the powerful, impersonal faces of nature,” while the oft-used blue lighting enhances the figurative immersion into the sea. Although inspired by recordings of humpback whale song, Crumb bypasses the use of tape and instead calls upon the three musicians to produce sounds naturally aided by amplification and extended technique, allowing for a remarkable scope of range in dynamics, color and emotion.

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