|Abel, Mark / Dream Gallery - Seven California Portraits, The|
|Album:||Dream Gallery - Seven California Portraits, The||Collection:||Classical|
|Artist:||Abel, Mark||Added:||Jun 2012|
|Add Date:||2012-06-30||Pull Date:||2012-09-02||Charts:||Classical/Experimental|
|Week Ending:||Aug 12||Jul 8|
|1.||Aug 06, 2012:||Mixed Up Class |
|2.||Jul 05, 2012:||The Concious Soul |
(11:28) Helen (Los Angeles) - Soprano
Abel, Mark / The Dream Gallery, Seven California Portraits|
Label: Delos Productions, 2012
This song cycle by Mark Abel, who dropped out of Stanford in the late 60s and was later foreign editor of the SF Chronicle, explores the psychology and geography of CA via seven characters and locales. The lyrics describe people pursuing variations of archetypal CA dreams. Issues confronted include competition, ladder-climbing, greed, immigrant struggle, dysfunctional relationships, loneliness, and racism. The music blends classical, rock and jazz elements, and reflects Abel’s experience as a guitarist, bassist and songwriter in the ‘70s and ‘80s NYC rock scene. The vocalists sing the thought-provoking lyrics clearly and possess likeable voices.
1. (11:28) Helen (Los Angeles) - Soprano; a “perfect” life gone off the rails. “Phantom of the Opera” style.
2. (10:18) Todd (Taft) – Baritone; a man has affection for his largely devastated hometown, decayed and frozen in time. Somewhat dissonant, quiet, bleak. Emptiness and gray skies.
3. (7:55) Naomi (Berkeley) - Mezzo Soprano; Berkeley skewered: politically correct “hill people” cast a cool eye on less refined neighbors. Windy day view of the Bay, with post-Debussy strings, winds and percussion.
4. (8:23) Carol (San Diego) - Mezzo Soprano; materialism, anti-intellectualism and intolerance of other lifestyles. Steven Sondheim Sweeny Todd style.
5. (10:16) Lonnie (Richmond) – Bass; witness to history of racial scapegoating and its costs. Immensely sad.
6. (9:22) Luz (Soledad) – Contralto; acceptance and assimilation of Hispanics in Salinas Valley. A blend of Aaron Copland, American in Paris and a whiff of Westside Story styles. Mostly sunny, but dry, not moist, heat.
7. (11:42) Adam (Arcata) – Tenor; celebration of youth, its self-absorption and doubts, and worries re limits to CA’s future. Interesting rhythms, tough messages, modal melodies.