John Zorn – Music and Its Double (2012)

John Zorn – Music and Its Double (2012) I’m not an “expert”, actually, not even a frequent and frenetic listener of contemporary symphonic music. But Zorn it’s Zorn, my curiosity was bigger then my fear of abstract, eventually unfriendly listening. And Zorn managed to grab my attention. Still, this is quite dark, dramatic, twisted out Wagnerian feels-like music, unfriendly and probably for most nerve-racking, or at least disturbing. The violin (the cello and ultimately the soprano… 😆 ) sometimes literally split your brain in two and makes your ears bleeding, while the tension it’s tenebrous and the dissonances makes you feel like you’re trapped in a horror movie – think of the Kubrick’s “The Shining” soundtrack. The four parts of “Ceremonial Magic” definitively fits that profile and vibe. Still, the work have a huge groove and Kenny Wollesen bang his drums like crazy. Zorn’s cinematic experiences are leaving their sonic finger-prints on his symphonic adventures as well. Don’t think that the closing one-act opera, “La Machine de l’Être”, because of the vocals it’s an easier piece. It’s not.
John Zorn is not only prolific, but also fascinating, he manage to express himself in so many different ways by different musical vehicles – just like any true Magician. And there is no doubt, Zorn it’s a Magician.
I’m not gonna listening this on daily basics, but I admit, it was quite an experience!


1. A ReBours
2. Ceremonial Magic
3. La Machine de l’Être

Total Time – 42:33


Jennifer Choi: Violin
Brad Lubman: Conductor
Fred Sherry: Cello
William Winant: Percussion
Kenny Wollesen: Drums
David Fulmer: Violin, Viola
June Han: Harp
Anu Komsi: Soprano
Al Lipowski: Percussion
Mike Nicolas: Cello
Tara Helen O’connor: Flute
Joe Pereira: Percussion
Josh Rubin: Clarinet

Lahti Symphony Orchestra
Sakari Oramo: Conductor

Released: Oct 30, 2012

Official release note:
Zorn’s unique cello concerto is a colorful virtuoso showpiece for cellist Fred Sherry and three instrumental trios. Ceremonial Magic is a dynamic piece for solo violin presented here in a special duo realization featuring composer/performer David Fulmer and longtime Zorn associate Kenny Wollesen on drums. Closing the program is Zorn’s ritualistic one-act opera inspired by the late drawings of Antonin Artaud La Machine de l’être. It is performed here by the incredible soprano Anu Komsi who originated the role at its stage pre- miere at the New York City Opera in 2011.

John Zorn – Music and Its Double (2012) @ iTunes

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  1. […] seriousely considering a forth record of his to put in the list, the contemporary symphonic work “Music and Its Double”. Regardless of genres, styles, fanciness and any other criteria you can think of, here’s my […]

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