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CD Review

Janice Giteck

Home (revisited)

  • Om Shanti - excerpts
  • Home (revisited) - extract
  • Tapasya - extract
Eckert, soprano
E. Gray, violin
W. Gray, cello
Dye, viola
Kocmieroski, percussion
New Performance Group/Kocmieroski
Philandros, Gamelan Pacifica/Powell
New Albion NA054CD
Find it at AmazonFind it at Amazon UKFind it at Amazon GermanyFind it at Amazon CanadaFind it at Amazon FranceFind it at Amazon Japan

All performance fees, royalties, "and other contributions" will be donated to AIDS-related charities and organizations. Commenting on the music itself seems beside the point, in this case. Since I didn't care for the music, I feel like I'm about to kick the dog. Some of these works take off from gamelan, but the real thing is more interesting. Giteck's music seems to me the product of another intellectual tourist infatuated with the culture of the Far East without actually having studied it with any real effort. Most of these works are, in my terms, "faceless." I have no sense of the mind or personality that produced it. Unlike composers such as McPhee, Harrison, Reich, Takemitsu, and Hovhaness - all influenced to some extent by Asian music and some by Buddhist and Taoist artistic ideals - there's nothing here of the composer herself. Note that my Good Examples don't sound the least bit like one another. Giteck has produced background music with a passport.

Giteck might reasonably counter with a "Precisely. This is music to meditate by." However, as Kurt Vonnegut points out in Palm Sunday, westerners don't meditate by shutting off everything of interest. Generally, we find a luminous mind through the media of music, art, and literature, and soar with that. We don't short-circuit the brain: it is the tool of our enlightenment. Rather than sink into ourselves to emerge into the universe, we fly in the arms of a winged messenger.

Another thing: the disc contains slightly under 19 minutes worth of music. Consequently, consider that you really are performing a charitable act if you buy it.

Copyright © 1996, Steve Schwartz