Meredith Monk is one of my favorite composers. I hesitate to call her a "modern" or "contemporary"
composer, although clearly she is. Her music and spirit are both ancient and modern at the same time; it is entirely tangible in her art-whether it is film, music, or all kinds of artistic collaborations-and for me it's always a deeply moving experience.
ECM says this:
“Songs of Ascension” is a major new recording from composer Meredith Monk and her vocal ensemble. Written in 2008, it is conceived as a continuous composition, a departure from Monk’s earlier collaged or episodic extended works. In recent years Meredith Monk’s been expanding into the worlds of orchestra and string quartet. On “Songs of Ascension” she teams up with a string quartet of New York players well versed in new music. With winds, percussion and two vocal groups added to her already extraordinary singers, this is one of Monk’s most musically ambitious ventures. Voices and instruments are paired and balanced against each other to an extent rare in her music. Inspirations for the work included the Song of Ascents, a group of psalms said to have been sung during pilgrimages, and a timely invitation to perform at an 8-story tower designed by visual artist Ann Hamilton. “Songs of Ascension” finds Monk playing with the musical, sonic, metaphysical and literal connotations of upward movement.
I posted Monk's "Book of Days" soon after I created this blog, and urge everyone to check that out
if you have not (I feel as if many visitors have overlooked it..) as well.
Some scenes from the performance: