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John Zorn


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John Zorn Angelus Novus album cover
3.03 | 12 ratings | 1 reviews | 17% 5 stars

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Studio Album, released in 1998

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. For Your Eyes Only (13:47)
2. Christabel, Part 1 (4:04)
3. Christabel, Part 2 (3:52)
4. Carny (12:43)
5. Angelus Novus: Peshat (2:05)
6. Angelus Novus: Tzomet (1:24)
7. Angelus Novus: Aliya (4:35)
8. Angelus Novus: Herut (1:46)
9. Angelus Novus: Pardes (2:54)

Total Time: 47:10

Line-up / Musicians

The Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory (conducted by Stephen Drury).

For Your Eyes Only:
- Julianna Miller / flute
- Tania Tupper / oboe
- Michelle Montone / clarinet
- Minako Taguchi / bassoon
- Chris Still / trumpet
- Heinz-Karl Schwebel / trumpet
- Molly Pate / horns
- James Nickel / horns
- Chris Rozmarin / trombone
- Roger Clapp / tuba
- Jun Komatsu / piano
- Heather Kellgreen / harp
- Sean Mannion / percussion
- Scott Vincent / percussion
- Robert Schultz / percussion
- Haldan Martinson / violin
- Mina Saski / violin
- Christina Day / viola
- Walter Haman / cello
- Chris Burns / bass
- Stephanie Wagner / flute
- Cindy Kim / flute
- Beth Chandler / flute
- Ann Bobo / flute
- Gasper Hoyos / alto flute
- Ilana Schroeder / viola
- Stephen Drury / piano
Angelus Novus:
- Kyoko Hida / oboe
- Izumi Nishizawa / oboe
- Bharat Chandra / clarinet
- Min-Ho Yeh / clarinet
- Robert McGrath / bassoon
- Minako Taguchi / bassoon
- James Nickel / french horn
- Daniel Shaud / french horn

Releases information

CD Tzadik (TZ 7028), 1998

Thanks to silentman for the addition
and to Joren for the last updates
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JOHN ZORN Angelus Novus ratings distribution

(12 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(17%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(0%)
Good, but non-essential (67%)
Collectors/fans only (8%)
Poor. Only for completionists (8%)

JOHN ZORN Angelus Novus reviews

Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by siLLy puPPy
3 stars After a fairly fruitful musical career established in the 1980s, JOHN ZORN really got productive all throughout the 90s especially around 1995 when he released five albums. The ensuing years would prove to be equally or even more productive and ZORN was always eager to take detours from his avant-garde jazz comfort zone. One of the lesser known aspects of his musical career ZORN was also a classical chamber ensemble composer but many of these compositions remained in the vault for many years to come.

ANGELUS NOVUS which was released in 1998 (the second of eight released that year) was the first album in a series that documented ZORN's interest in the world of classical music. The album which consists of four lengthy compositions spanned three decades. 'For Your Eyes Only' the opening chamber symphony was originally composed in 1988, the piano torture of 'Carney' in 1989 and the title track the newest of the lot was crafted in 1993. The two part 'Christabel' dates back all the way back to 1972 when ZORN was just a student and was inspired by the romantic mystic poetry of Samuel Taylor Coleridge.

ANGELUS NOVUS is yet another album where ZORN steps out of the limelight as a musician and occupies the role of executive producer but has always been quite unique in the fact that he releases these albums under his own name. Stephen Duty is the conductor, producer, artistic director and pianist of the project while the other instruments are performed by the Callithumpian Consort of the New England Conservatory who mastered the spontaneous jittery angularities of ZORN's restless nature and pull it off flawlessly. 'Christabel' the oldest piece on board is a piece for five flutes and a viola and a clear tribute to the European 20th century classical masters.

'For Your Eyes Only' features a 20-piece ensemble and wends and winds through various obtuse passages with occasional bursts of cartoon music and also a snippet from the occasional melody from the classical history books. The track skirts along for almost 14 minutes but keeps things spiced up to give it various flavors that keep changing. 'Carny' is a 13 minute piano performance by Stephen Drury. This avant-garde piece exemplifies his mastery of precision and sounds like a mix of Chopin-esque technicalities with the dissonant abstractness of jazz virtuoso Cecil Taylor. This is definitely difficult listening if there is any but the rhythmic drive provides an underpinning of tangible compositional fortitude.

While the first half of the album is fairly engaging, the latter half is comprised of the title track divided into five different suites. It is very much a fragmented work that takes on many themes. It was dedicated to Walter Benjamin and encompasses both 20th century avant-garde classical flavors as well as inserting various traditional Jewish themes. It is a rather slow burner and the least interesting part as it sort of slinks around aimlessly although the execution is brilliantly performed. Overall it's just missing that extra magic that gives it an engaging run. The tracks seem to lack a cohesive connecting tissue that makes it all seem relevant. Still though not a horrible piece by any means.

While ANGELUS NOVUS is a grand execution of ZORN's compositional fortitude in the world of avant-garde classical music, i can't say this is his best works by any means. While it's above average for a jazz musician's ability to effortlessly take on a completely different genre of musical expression, the second half of the album just comes off as way too sleepy and ho hum to make this album absolutely essential however for diehard ZORN fans, this is surely a worthy addition to the collection of countless albums that he has cranked out. The first four tracks alone are interesting historical perspectives of ZORN's dabbling in this saxophone-free style of music. While this won't go down in history as one of classical music's crowning achievements, ZORN did successfully bring new perspectives into its purview and this does make great background music for when you're feeling really disconnected from reality.

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