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John Zorn - Aporias: Requia For Piano And Orchestra CD (album) cover

APORIAS: REQUIA FOR PIANO AND ORCHESTRA

John Zorn

RIO/Avant-Prog


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Anthony H.
PROG REVIEWER
2 stars John Zorn: Aporias: Requia for Piano and Orchestra [1998]

Rating: 3/10

As the title indicates, Aporias: Requia for Piano and Orchestra is another contemporary-classical album from John Zorn. Like its predecessor Angelus Novus, this album is a bit of a departure from Zorn's normal compositional approach. Zorn is known for his program music. He often uses non-musical inspiration to accomplish a wide variety of musical goals, from illustrating horrific events such as the Halocaust to emulating the work of an admired artist. Albums like Aporias show him taking a different approach. This is absolute music; it's not trying to illustrate anything. This approach both helps and hurts the music. It reduces the gimmicky feeling that extra-musical topics often evoke. However, it also takes away any sense of cohesion and purpose that the music would have otherwise had. The result is 30 minutes of directionless orchestral tomfoolery.

A track-by-track analysis of this album would be a fruitless endeavor. This is basically one 30-minute piece, and it's difficult to write at length about something like this. Basically, the piece transitions between dissonant piano panging and minimalistic orchestral experimentation. The whole thing has a stop-start feel to it; it jumps from one idea to the next without any sort of coherency or flow. As a result, this piece is extraordinarily boring and ultimately unrewarding. It fails to create atmosphere because it lacks any sort of consistent musical vision. It sounds like a preliminary rough draft, but it's unfortunately the final product.

It seems like Zorn's forays into absolute music have caused him to compose avant-garde music merely for the sake of being avant-garde. Basic musical principles are egregiously overlooked here. I honestly don't understand why this album was released like this; the flaws seem so inherently obvious to me. Am I overarching my opinion? Do I just not "get it"? I don't know, but what I do know is that I don't plan on revisiting this any time soon. I'll award two stars simply because this never strays into "terrible" territory. It's simply boring beyond belief.

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Send comments to Anthony H. (BETA) | Report this review (#555079)
Posted Saturday, October 22, 2011 | Review Permalink

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