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Classical Music Review

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The Ceiling Floats Away


Composer: Matthew Burtner and Rita Dove
Performed by: EcoSono Ensemble
Label: Ravello Records
RRP: £13.99
Release Date: 12 January 2018

Ravello Records releases The Ceiling Floats Away, a new collaboration between sound artist Matthew Burtner, former US poet laureate Rita Dove, and ecoacoustic ensemble EcoSono...

Almost the second I started to play this I knew I was in for a long, and painful ride. I did all the cliched moves: rolled my eyes; tutted; laughed; shouted "what is this nonsense" before turning it off and putting it to one side until I was in a MUCH better frame of mind.

I get it. Taking poetry (even though I despise poetry with a passion) and giving it a musical backdrop... but it's just not my cup of tea. It's not engaging or enjoyable. And if I'm spending most of my time sighing, and wishing the entire experience was over... we'll that's not good is it?

Music, to my mind, should stir something deep in the listener. Whether it's primeval or soul stirring... it should evoke an emotion. The only emotion this stirred in me was one of contempt. Several people walked past my desk as I was listening to it, laughed and uttered encouragement like: "What is this shit?"; "Poor you"; and "Oh, that's bloody awful!"

Now, obviously I'm just a pleb. The enlightened individuals obviously get it. In fact it was awarded a Special Jury Award in the 2016 American Prize in Chamber Music Composition for "Unique Nexus of Acoustics, Electronics and Audience Interaction." whatever that means.

If you love self-indulgent, art-for-the-sake-of-art, fill your boots with this one.


Darren Rea

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