Vox Box Redux

21st Century Vocal Music

These shows originally aired the week of December 13, 2010. Nadia Sirota returns this coming Monday.

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Monday, March 14, 2011

Sacred, secular, set to poetry or neutral syllables, vocal music can be found in most every corner of the New Music world. The voice is perhaps the most flexible and expressive instrument out there; everything from oboes to guitars is compared to it. There is something instantly rousing and sort of, well, human about vocal music. It translates emotion in a very visceral way.

This week we'll explore the far corners of vocal music, from secular choral music to songs of lament.

I have a hard time digesting sung poetry; I had always chalked this up to early exposure to opera in foreign languages, but I've learned that a lot of my fellow instrumentalists suffer from the same affliction. Lately I've been making a concerted effort to listen to and absorb lyrics. How do you feel? Does music enhance text or obscure it?

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Nadia Sirota
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Comments [2]

@jp SPEAKING of words and percussion, have you checked out Aperghis? He's a crazy master of the medium! http://szsolomon.com/notes/aperghis.shtml

Mar. 17 2011 04:55 PM
JP from NY

"I've learned that a lot of my fellow instrumentalists suffer from the same affliction"

Well put. Poetry and music - I love both but they have always been separate art forms for me. I like writing in both mediums and have spent a lot of time trying to marry the two. I have found it often an arduous task, and doubly so when trying to force it. Once every couple of years, a happy union will occur without much effort.

Probably the easiest combo comes with words & percussion. It's as if melody conflicts with processing of word meaning.

Mar. 17 2011 12:54 PM

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