RObert een: Mystery Dances
Liane Hansen, Weekend Edition, NPR:
What a stew you’ve made here in this new CD. It smells and
TOP TEN: Een is a graceful musician and a conjuring compositional alchemist whose
music...never sounds anything shy of original and inviting.”
"The music is highly rhythmic, driven by catchy grooves, often with a Middle-Eastern
feel. It is fluent, at times quirky, and often seductive."
infectious accessibility of Een's music has been noted by leading critics.
Writing in the Village Voice,
Kyle Gann comments that this "joyous roller coaster of postminimal-jazz
energy could engage any audience." His music for dance has been praised
by Jack Anderson in the New York Times and by Deborah Jowitt in
Voice, who wrote that Een's "lively, raucous and sweet music...
is a marvel and full of variety."
The music on this CD reflects influences
from such diverse sources as the fall of the Berlin Wall, traditional
Japanese court music, subterranean Roman baths in England, and a walking
journey in Tibet.
In the CD’s Introduction, Meredith Monk remarks
Dances is like a musical caravan drawing upon traditions from
Asia, the Middle East, Europe, and the United States. The music is
energetic, filled with contrasting moods of humor and poignancy." She
concludes that the CD is “an exhilarating listening experience.”
offers these brief comments about the music on this CD:
“Gagaku Splash is my interpretation
of the traditional court music of Japan, here arranged for cellos and
for Julius is dedicated to my friend and teacher, Julius Eastman.
He passed away in 1989, but his inspiration and spirit live on.
“Breaching the Wall celebrates the fall
of the Berlin Wall. Having visited East and West Berlin in the 1980s,
I personally witnessed the arbitrary but devastating nature of that division.
“The remaining works, described below, originated when Terry Creach
and Steve Koester approached me about composing an evening-length piece
of music for their company of ten men. I wanted to write something that
was at once both interesting for an audience to listen to and at the
same time energizing for the dancers.
“Breakdown Eleven is a swirling piece
in multiple time signatures. Riding
Herd is about the energy of ten male dancers on stage.
“Premonition and Death of a Dog are paired together. Premonition imitates
the heartbeat of expectancy, while Death of a Dog explores the feeling
of fatigue and atrophy that accompanies the aging process not without a touch
“Mystery Two-Step is about the mysterious nature of the creative
process. It is dedicated to my dear friend and colleague, Meredith Monk, to
whom I am deeply indebted. Roman Bath is inspired by visiting the
subterranean Roman baths of Bath, England.
“The Long Journey evokes the mood of a journey I made on foot
around Lhasa, Tibet, and serves as a metaphor for life. The mundane and daily
chores are interrupted by glimpses of the eternal and transcendent.”
An acclaimed composer, cellist, and singer, Een won an Obie Award in
2004 for his score for Hiroshima Maiden and a 2000 "Bessie
Award" for sustained achievement. Een has performed his music on
stages and in unusual venues throughout the world, including the Buddhist
caves of Ellora, India; the Shinto shrine in Tsurugi, Japan; a theater
above the Arctic circle in Norway; as well as Central Park, Lincoln Center,
the Whitney Museum, and the Knitting Factory in New York City. His long
association with Meredith Monk culminated in their evening-length performance
duet, Facing North.