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Vox Balaenae : Work information

George (Henry) Crumb ( Music, Images,)
Performed by
Daniel Pailthorpe (Flute), Bridget MacRae (Cello), Julian Milford (Piano), Conchord

This work

Work name
Vox Balaenae
Work number
1971-01-01 02:00:00

This recording

Black Box
Chris Craker
Chris Craker
Recording date
2002-06-29 00:00:00

The Composers

George (Henry) Crumb

Born in Charleston, West Virginia, George Crumb attended the universities of Illinois and Michigan before teaching at Colorado and Pennsylvania, where he remained until retiring in 1995.  His orchestral work Echoes of Time and the River (1967) won him the Pulitzer prize and he has written many choral pieces inspired by the writings of Federico Garcia Lorca.

Crumb's use of extended performance techniques leads to his music being at once sonorous and disjointed.  He cites Béla Bartók as a major influence, and shares with him an uncomfortable sense of the macabre.  His Makrokosmos piano collections can be seen as picking up Bartók's thread, and as with Crumb's string quartet Black Angels he specifies that the acoustic instruments be amplified.  The esoteric titles and themes of Crumb's work (a movement of Black Angels is entitled 'Night of the Electric Insects') are echoed in esoteric compositional techniques.  Quotation, parody and dreamlike mood invite comparisons with Luciano Berio - both composers are hugely devoted to the work of Gustav Mahler

Track listing

  • Vocalise (...for the beginning of time) 5:07 min
  • Variations on Sea-Time [Sea Theme] 1:38 min
  • Archeozoic [Variation 1] 1:28 min
  • Proterozoic [Variation 2] 2:17 min
  • Paleozoic [Variation 3] 1:00 min
  • Mesozoic [Variation 4] 1:17 min
  • Cenozoic [Variation 5] 2:32 min
  • Sea-Nocturne (...for the end of time) 6:51 min