ANTHONY BRAXTON — For Four Orchestras

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ANTHONY BRAXTON - For Four Orchestras cover
4.00 | 1 rating | 1 review
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Album · 1978


A For Four Orchestras - Composition {82}
B For Four Orchestras - Composition {82}
C For Four Orchestras - Composition {82}
D For Four Orchestras - Composition {82}
E For Four Orchestras - Composition {82}
F For Four Orchestras - Composition {82}


Bass – Arthur Kell, Daniel Savage , David Seckinger, Jeffrey Hill , Jeffrey Soule, Leon Dorsey, Mark Shapire, Matthew McCauley , Michael Talbert , Mikkel Jordahl, Robert Adair, Suzanne Tarshis
Bassoon – Allen Smith, Ann Kosanovic, Deanna Kory, Mark Gross
Cello – Aaron Henderson, Carol Elliott , Carole Stipleman, Daniel Kazez, Dawn Wilder, Elizabeth Knowles, Elizabeth Warren , Kathy Kelly , Mattew Wexler, Michele McTeague, Sarah Binford, Steven Drake , Steven Harrison , Steven Wise, Suzanne Wijsman, Tom Rosenberg
Clarinet [Bass] – Carol Robinson, Cynthia Douglass, David Ballon, Mark Gallagher
Clarinet [Eb] – Bela Schwartz, David Bell , David Hostetler , James Colbert , John Guest , Marta Schworm, Marty Rossip, Michael Zakim
Conductor – Gene Young, Kenneth Moore, Murray Gross, Robert Baustian
Flute [Alto] – Adam Kuenzel, Carol Goodwillow, Joel Karr, Wendy Tarnoff
Flute [Picollo] – Betsy Adler, Celeste Johnson , Leonard Garrison, Virginia Elliott
Harp – Cynthia Mowery, Nancy Lendrim, Naomi Markus, Susan Kelly
Oboe – Bernard Gabis, Cameron McClusky, Carolyn Hove, Claudia Patton, Giselle Lautenbach, James Hois, Michael Harrison, Pamela Hill
Percussion – Andre Whatley, Andrew Collier, Charles Wood , David Wiles, Derek Davidson, Galen Work, Gregg Linde, John Gardner, John Kennedy , Philip Seeman, Stephen Pascher, Victor Thomas
Trombone – Ann Mondragon, Bradley Cornell, Brian Campbell, David Fogg, David Stocklosa, Eileen Jones, Erik Johnson , Kadie Nichols, Mark Adams ), Mark Kaiser, Richard Ruotolo, Robert Asmussen
Trumpet – Alan Campbell , Chris Kerrebrock, Dave Rinaldi, David Driesen, James Kirchenbauer, John Bourque, Thomas Gotwals, William Camp
Tuba – Barry Jenson, Brian Bailey , John Lomonaco , Steven Box
Viola – Alex GuroffIgor Polisitsky, Amy Leventha, Beth Thorne, David Rogers , Dee Ortel, Helen McDermott, James Thomas , Jeffery Durachta, Kathleen Elliott, Nanci Severence, Naomi Barlow, Norin Saxe, Rachel Yurman, Sarah Bloom, Theodore Chemey
Violin [First] – Audrey Hale, Barry Sargent, David Wilson , Diane Cooper, Edward Shlasko, Francine Swartzentruber, Judith Bixler, Karin von Gierke, Lilyn Graves, Lorraine Adel, Mary Bolling, Monique Reid , Pamela Stuckey, Peter Jaffe, Robert Scarrow, Shelley Fowle, Stanislav Branovicki, Steven Schuch, Susan Demetris, Zabeth Oechlin
Violin [Second] – Alison Feuerwerker, Amorie Robinson, Andra Marx, Elizabeth Welch , Ellen Ziontz, Jane Moon, Jennifer Doctor, Jennifer Steiner, Johnathan Dunn, Julie Badger, Kathy Blackwell, Lauri Gutman, Lori Fay, Lynda Mapes, Marcus Woo, Margaret Morgan , Marriane Smith, Sally Becker, Shannon Simonson, Susan Brenneis

About this release

Arista – A3L 8900 (US)

Recorded at Hall Auditorium, Oberlin College, Oberlin, Ohio on May 18 and 19, 1978

Thanks to snobb for the addition and js for the updates


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Specialists/collaborators reviews

You have to wonder if maybe Prince got his idea for calling himself an unpronounceable symbol from Anthony Braxton, who had been naming his compositions with various symbols and diagrams years before Prince made his famous name change. Take for example, this three record set that has been named “For Four Orchestras”. That is not the actual name for the composition presented on these records, the actual name is a multi-colored symbol displayed on the album box, and this symbol is also used as the title within the extensive booklet that comes in the box. All this aside, this is a fascinating piece of music in which Braxton takes four orchestras and passes sounds and melodic fragments among them so that the audience, that is seated in between the orchestras, is treated to a surround sound experience in which the music is in constant spatial motion.

Braxton was partly inspired by other modern composers, such as Ives, Stockhausen and Xennakis, who had worked with similar ideas. Musically, “Four Orchestras” , falls into that sort of aleotoric sound and approach favored by John Cage and the many people who were influenced by him. One hallmark of composition in the middle part of the 20th century is that people had devised music that did not compete with the natural sounds around us. Like much music from this era, “Four Orchestras”, need not be totally separated from neighboring sounds, whether they be birds singing, traffic and construction work, or people talking and laughing. Much of Braxton’s piece consists of somewhat pleasant atonal melodic snippets that are passed around the various groups, then at other times more dissonant sounds will build in volume and intensity, and then there are sections where thick tone clusters hang in the air like dark clouds.

Of course the salient feature of this work is the movement of sound. Ideally, you should have the quad version of this record and a quad record player. I do have a vintage quad stereo, but unfortunately the album I have is only stereo, but I did play it on simulated quad, and the surrounding orchestral colors are fascinating. Even in stereo though, this music sounds interesting enough. This album comes with a fifteen page booklet full of pictures and detailed explanations from Braxton. Anthony’s writings are very intellectual, but you know he has to be pulling your leg when he starts talking about his future compositions that will feature dialog between galaxies and star systems.

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