A multimedia box set of Anthony Braxton's opera work "Trillium J", containing live performance video on Blu-ray disc of a 2014 performance at Roulette in NY, and studio recording on 4-CD set, with 12 vocalists, 12 instrumental soloists and a full orchestra.
Label: Braxton House/Firehouse 12 Records
Catalog ID: FHR NBH 906
Squidco Product Code: 21981
Format: 4 CDs + BluRay
Packaging: Box Set - 4 CDS, 1 BluRay + Booklet
Live performance recorded at Roulette, in Brooklyn, New York on April 19th, 2014.
Studio realization recorded at Avatar Studios, in New York, New York April 21st Ð 22nd, 2014.
Anthony Braxton-composer, Libretto, conductor
Jim Hobbs-banjo, clarinet, saxophone
Kelvin Chan-baritone vocals
Chris DiMeglio-baritone vocals
Roland Burks-bass vocals
Ingrid Laubrock-clarinet, saxophone
Josh Sinton-clarinet, saxophone
Mike McGinnis-clarinet, saxophone
Oscar Noriega-clarinet, saxophone
Taylor Ho Bynum-conductor
Nathan Koci-French horn
Vincent Chancey-French horn
Kristin Fung-mezzo-soprano vocals
Elizabeth Saunders-mezzo-soprano vocals
Kathy Halvorson-oboe, English horn
Katie Scheele-oboe, English horn
Libby Van Cleve-oboe, Englishhorn
Lucy Dhegrae-soprano vocals
Kamala Sankaram-soprano vocals
Kyoko Kitamura-soprano vocals
Jen Shyu-soprano vocals
Nick Hallett-tenor vocals
Tomas Cruz-tenor vocals
Vince Vincent-tenor vocals, voice
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1. Act I 57:45
1. Act II 36:51
1. Act III 54:04
1. Act IV 61:38
sample the album:
"[...] Braxton has identified the Trillium opera cycle as the ongoing project closest to his heart. Once complete, he envisions an interlinked "opera complex" of 36 acts where each chapter also exists as a stand-alone opera. Three have been performed so far: Trillium A (one act, fully staged in San Diego in 1985), Trillium M (two acts, in a concert performance in London in 1994) and Trillium R (four acts, fully staged in NYC in 1996). The performances of Trillium M and Trillium R both resulted in CD releases, and the four-act Trillium E was recorded in the studio in 2010 and commercially released the following year. Braxton is currently in the final stages of Trillium X (four acts), which will bring him more than halfway to his ultimate goal. [...]"-Broadway World
"I fail to describe my feelings having never experienced anything like this before. Perhaps one could compare Trillium J to Richard Foreman's plays in the way it captures the absurd, the unexpectedness and ambiguity of contemporary world. Weave these into the voices of 12 vocalists and the sounds of 12 instrumental soloists with full orchestra, excellent acting, pseudo-philosophical digressions, visual projections, young skipping-rope Jazzy Jumpers and two of New York's best contemporary dance improvisers Rachel Bernsen and Melanie Maar, and you get the mix.
At any specific moment I could not recognize what exactly (music, words, acting, etc.) made me smile in a very strange way - the smile that sometimes comes from experiencing the misfortunes of Daniil Harms's characters. This is perhaps the genius of a gesamtkunstwerk artist (Braxton wrote both the music and the libretto) - to blend all the media so naturally that a spectator cannot recognize the source of their feelings. Howdoes the absurd feel? As an interlude before the Second Scene of Act IV, Jazzy Jumpers entered with their skipping-ropes and the choir started improvising "random" sounds to their movements. I sensed tears in my eyes, obviously neither out of sadness or joy. What catalyzed the sublime was (perhaps?) the excitement that something so contemporary and so musically apt was composed -the genre of opera has a future; at least it definitely has a present.
But the climax was still to come. The interlude could either feel like just another meaningful nonsense - the ridiculousness that was so fittingly at the wrong place, - or depict a stratum of society to be juxtaposed with the final scene - the trial of Sally Wanton. Despite the obvious references to social injustices of American society, Ms Walton reminded me of Russian President Vladimir Putin in her ability to pour complete nonsense and reject obvious evidence of crime with complete confidence (as well as accept it and immediately render crucial statements trifle). This is where, perhaps, "the concept of affinity," the opera's major theme, lies.
Everyone walked out with a radiant face - those who thought of multiple possibilities of political connotations, or those who just took "the poetic transiency" and "undefinition that seeks its own level" as a flow of beautiful nonsense. George Crumb once said that he was "frightened of a possibility to write an opera, nothing comes close to Wozzeck." Whether you agreed with that or not in the past, you would definitely have to consider replacing Wozzeck with The Non-Unconfessionables. Should 21st century opera, and music for that matter, only be political? It is not always this or that, it is often the other."-Erlena Dlu, extendtechniques.com