"THE PLANETS" by Kyle Gann, Relache Ensemble to release complete recording

Top Quote Kyle Gann's "THE PLANETS" mammoth Opus has been recorded by Relache Ensemble for record label Meyer Media LLC. This release is to coincide with the world premiere concert of the complete Opus in Philadelphia. End Quote
  • (1888PressRelease) February 02, 2010 - The long awaited completion of Kyle Gann's "THE PLANETS" has finally come. Composed for the Relāche Ensemble starting in 1994, the entire work has been recorded this past summer by contemporary record label Meyer Media LLC. "As soon as I heard the first movement of this Opus, I knew we had to get recording as soon as possible", states producer Andreas Meyer. "Not since Holst have we had such an Opus study of our solar system, and this one includes Pluto! Kyle not only captures the preconditioned notions we have of each of these planets, but moves us to a new understanding of ourselves." Kyle Gann continues, "Where Holst had melodies suggestive of traditional planetary forces, I have processes that mirror our current understanding of how those forces operate. My Planets may be worse, may be better, but their raison d'etre is that they are more suggestive of contemporary astrology than Holst's. This was sufficient reason to update.

    At the same time, I have Pluto, which wasn't discovered until 13 years after Holst wrote The Planets - and which is still used as a crucial astrological planet, even if downgraded by the astronomers. And Holst didn't portray the Sun and Moon, which astrology refers to as planets, possibly because they seemed too personal to exert the same influences, or perhaps simply because they weren't, strictly speaking, planets. But in astrology as conceived today, the Sun isn't really the Self (nor the Moon the female or receptive Self), but is rather an influence that acts upon the Self with particular characteristics, more intense, perhaps, but no less qualifiable than Mars, Saturn, and so on.

    And so I have ten movements where Holst had only seven. The male planets are Sun, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn; Mercury and Uranus are neuter; Moon, Venus, Neptune, and Pluto are female (though Pluto is related to Mars despite its Dark Mother feminine archetype). The "personal" planets (Sun, Moon, Mars, Venus, Mercury) are characterized by clear melodies and individualistic solo parts; the "transcendent" outer planets are depicted in cloudier ensemble effects. Male-planet movements are driven by active melodies, female ones often fall into a receptive musical background with no foregrounded elements."

    Relāche ensemble couldn't celebrate their 30th year with a more appropriate recording. Though the ensemble no longer retains any of its original members, the musical vision and commanding performance the ensemble brings to the stage shows just how perfection truly can be achieved over time. This has been captured with their performance on this recording. Being Relāche's third release with Meyer Media, no doubt this Opus will bring Relāche recognition for heroic efforts. Listening to them tackle complexities in the score with such ease is just tremendous on its own, but they go further. Perfect blending of instrumentation brings the listener to meditation where you feel as one with the world, or shall we say "Neptune". Saturn is brought on with complete surprise and with such alien tones; you sense there is more to its rings than just beauty from afar. Closer to home the "Moon" allows us to feel calm under a familiar glow, but that calm is brief as "Mars" lives up to its name, both in inhospitality and mythological violent nature.

    The packaging of this release no less significant. Being conscience of our own planet, the CD (and its shrink wrap) is the only plastic found here. Using a clever folder design, the case retains both spines and has two pockets, one for the CD and another for an insert. This insert is a full poster of the painting by Laura Battle, which adorns the entire package. On the opposite side is a full review of the Planets by author David McIntire, as well as a descriptive map by the composer to help guide us on our listening journey. Finally we find information on the ensemble and directions to many useful web sites for continued exploration. This recording is sure to make waves throughout the contemporary classical world, and bring along many converts for the ride. The recording is absolutely brilliant in clarity and does justice to the ensembles stellar performance. This CD is to be made available at the world premiere concert in Philadelphia on February 6th, 2010, as well as being available at all major internet music provider's worldwide (and beyond?).

    Visit either Relāche Ensemble or Meyer Media LLC web sites for more details.

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