» BRANT, HENRY: Ant Hen, Volume 8 of the Collected Works
BRANT, HENRY: Ant Hen, Volume 8 of the Collected Works
Another of the great C20 innovators – a student of ‘bad boy’ George Antheil - Brant spent most of his life exploring the possibilities of multiple ensembles, spatialisation and simultaneity. He also wrote what many regard as one of the greatest textbooks on orchestration. In volume 8 of the collected works we are offered 9 impressively different pieces, including Revenge Before Breakfast (1982), for 3 isolated duettists (winds, tuned percussion & strings) plus a lone accordion, Inside Track (also 1982) is a spatial piano concerto in which only the piano and a percussionist occupy the stage - a string septet is set up on one side of the hall with a wind quartet on the other and an independent street band at the back. ‘The pianist (in this instance Yvar Mikhashoff) attempts no rhythmic coordination with the three groups’. Glorious. Then there’s the double-piano Jazz Toccata on a Bach Theme, written in 1940 but not played until 1984 at the Holland festival (by Brant and Gerrit Hommerson) and the exquisite Jazz Clarinet Concerto (1946), written for Benny Goodman who found it too ‘abstract’ and which then lay unperformed until It too was eventually premiered in Holland by the Netherlands Wind Ensemble. This is straight ahead Big Band Jazz, but beautifully done. Double Crank and Organ music (1933) is for two pianos (Brant and Hommerson) plus percussion; an Ivesian attempt to mimic a broken down out of tune barrel organ, while Altitude 8750 (1990) is a quasi-improvisational piece including in its cast Pauline Oliveros, Hugh Davies, James Tenney, Wadada Leo Smith, Larry Polanski, Jody Diamond and Charles Amirkhanian. This volume is probably more for those already familiar with Brant’s bigger, later and more radical works; on the other hand, this collection does offer an impressive sampling of the sheer range of his work, and some of its unlikely way-stations. It also gives a rare insight into the less documented undercurrents of musical experimentation in the1930’s and 40’s.
Code: INNOVA 415