Saturday, March 05, 2005

Phil Kline's Three Rumsfeld Songs

The pieces are a juxposition of new and old at the same time. The male vocalist sounds like a voice that could be heard right of the oldie goldie radio section. The accompaniement that underlies him, however, sounds very contemporary and unusual. At first, the piece makes me think I'm being attacked by aliens. The text is so simple, "As we know there are no knowns. No no no. But there are also unknown, unknowns." The melodic line, in this since is simple too but the strange rhythm, uneven and constantly changing meters, along with these percussion instruments make this saying very complex and cause the listener to really question what these few simple words mean. Then a sweet violin enters and seems to comfort the "unknown" uncertainity in the vocalist' life through soothing melodies. An ostinato of a descending pattern of threes begins. This is like an opposition. He's singing about unknowns, yet muically, because of this ostinato we do know what is going to happen next harmonically. I have no idea what form this would be. It's probably some 20th century structure that we haven't learned. It's a really cool piece though, kinda halloweenie.


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