Michael McNabb
(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )

Invisible Cities (Wergo, 1989) ****
Dreamsong (Wergo, 1993) ***

Michael McNabb (1952), an alumnus of Stanford's Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics, has composed innovative electronic and computer music in several settings.

The computer-processed field recording of Dreamsong (1978) is a a fast-moving collage of galactic drones and ghostly voices, harsh noises and metallic tinkling.

His electronic pieces can be, not so much futuristic, as highly lyrical. Love in the Asylum (1981) is a three-movement work that evokes altered state of the mind, a wild timbric and rhythmic excursus that alternates phases of frantic rapture and of solemn meditation. Music for Mars in 4-D (1979), inspired by Holst's Planets and rooted in the sound of the human voice, is cosmic music full of melodrama and pathos. While they represent, superficially, the musical equivalent of abstract painting, these pieces embody more than just a free-form expression of inner visions. They reference a deeper psychological realm, where consciousness battles reason to frame the human condition in both emotional and rational terms.

He has composed electroacoustic music such as The Lark Full Cloud (1989) for saxophone, percussion, natural sounds and electronics, as well as the otherworldly Secrets of the Magdalen Laundries (2000) for four processed female voices.

He has developed his own software to compose live computer music (in which the music is composed as a reaction to the performer's performance), such as Sudden Changes (1991) for solo soprano saxophone and electronics, The Far and Brilliant Night (1992) and The Forever Field (1993).

Dreamsong (Wergo, 1993) contains Dreamsong (november 1978), Music for Mars in 3-D (composed in 1979 and revised in 1984) and Love in the Asylum (november 1981).

Invisible Cities (Wergo, 1989) contains the six-movement dance piece Invisible Cities (premiered in december 1985), a virtuoso experiment in quotation that references a broad spectrum of musical history. It is scored for piano, saxophone and computer-synthesized sounds. City of No Resistance opens at a sprightly pace, matched by tribal drumming of demonic intensity while the saxophone releases a stately hymn-like melody. City of Wind tiptoes with the grace of a baroque rondo'. City of Congruence sounds like the fusion of a Tchaikovsky ballet, Walter Carlos' Clockwork Orange and Terry Riley's Rainbow In Curved Air. City of Desire is the melodramatic core, a sequence of dark, violent, irrational sonic events. City of Reflection is a multi-layered crescendo of minimalist repetition that leads to an apparently chaotic apotheosis.

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(Copyright © 2003 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
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