BMOP/Sound Releases MILTON BABBITT: ALL SET and GEORGE ANTHEIL: BALLET MECANIQUE
Known as the nation's foremost label launched by an orchestra and devoted exclusively to new music recordings, BMOP/sound today announced the February 11th release of two new composer-centric albums: Milton Babbitt: All Set featuring soprano Lucy Shelton; and George Antheil: Ballet Mécanique. As always, both recordings uphold unfailingly high standards of quality with performances by the daring Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP) led by conductor Gil Rose.
Milton Babbitt: All Set includes six large-ensemble works by the extraordinarily influential American composer Milton Babbitt. The disc chronicles 50 years of Babbitt's compositional activity - creating, refining and extending the dodecaphonic language. The musical journey begins with Babbitt's first "integral serialist" work, the Composition for Twelve Instruments. The album reveals his compositional flexibility as it oscillates between the popular, eponymous All Set for jazz ensemble and Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape (realized on his Mark II synthesizer), representing his pioneering achievements integrating acoustic and synthesized sound.
George Antheil: Ballet Mécanique comprises A Jazz Symphony (a work representing what the composer called "synthesized jazz") and the infamous Ballet Mécanique. An avant-garde 26 minute percussive tour-de-force, Ballet Mécanique is an amazing and amusing ballet of musicians and mechanical mayhem that is rarely performed because of the technological requirements needed to realize Antheil's original vision. Its complex fabric utilizes everything from sirens, airplane propellers and numerous xylophones, to (impossibly, at the time of Antheil's original conception) a fleet of 16 synchronized player pianos. Even Antheil confessed that it's a "mad youth prank!" Thanks to the utilization of MIDI technology, BMOP delivers the score in its original form with eight synchronized Yamaha Disklaviers and electric bells, airplane propellers and sirens controlled by a Nintendo Wii.