|On the Leopard Altar CB0022|
"On the Leopard Altar, with its multiple vocal, keyboard and wineglass parts, haunting neo-romantic melodies, sparkling timbres, and unusual additive and subtractive structures, is a remarkable collection.
"Lentz's music inhabits what he terms a musical "state of becoming," where both new and reappearing musical and textual fragments are fused through complex layering processes. However, the real basis of his seductive music may be the dreamy impressionism of Debussy and the lyrical voice and keyboard interaction of Schubert's lieder." John Schaefer, host of WNYC's New Sounds
"The form and flow of Is It Love? is determined by that of the text/lyric. Unlike much of my music-with-text work, it does not use an additive process. Rather, it uses a subtractive one. The voices begin each line with the nearly simultaneous sounding of all the phonemes of all of the words. As the work progresses, phonemes and notes are taken away until a finished line emerges.
"Lascaux is scored for wineglasses, sixteen of which are rubbed and nine of which are struck. Other than reverb, no effects have been added to the natural sounds of the glasses.
"On the Leopard Altar consists of six songs, each of which is heard alone and in combination with those that preceded it. Each text line makes its own kind of sense, which will change when combined with other lines from which phonemes are borrowed in order to make different words and new lines. For example, "May-an" is formed from the words "my" and "sun" (dropping the "s"). And, to add textual variety, tucked into this wordplay are homonyms, e.g., "reign" and "rain." Jessica Karraker is the featured singer.
"In Wolf Is Dead each line of text is joined by a phonetic link to the line following it, creating a word chain (e.g., "you died" overlapping with "you did"). This concept is the basis for the musical structure as well, with each chord overlapping and fusing with the one that preceded it.
"Requiem attempts to capture the experience of hearing a lone singer in a large, empty cathedral. While this occurs, and from an entirely different space, one hears big, resonant "church bells" producing a rich array of overtones that seem to form melodies of their own. Jessica Karraker is the featured singer."Daniel Lentz
With this release, On the Leopard Altar makes its first appearance as a CD. In 1984, it was released on vinyl by the short-lived label ICON Records.
Daniel Lentzs works have been commissioned and performed by noted ensembles and soloists around the world, including the Los Angeles Philharmonic, the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group, Zeitgeist, and the St. Paul Chamber Orchestra. A prolific composer whose music is often characterized by intricate musical processes, a bit of theater, and an interest in the human voice, Lentz has written large- and small-scale works for most common instrumental combinations, many unique ones, and the many ensembles (usually consisting of multiple keyboards, singers, and electronics) with which he has toured his music throughout the U.S., Europe, and Japan since the early 1970s. Lentz has been the recipient of many awards and grants, including five grants from the National Endowment for the Arts. Video presentations of his work have been seen on Alive From Off Center (PBS), the Preview Pavilion at Expo 86 in Vancouver, BC, NHK-TV in Japan, NOS-TV in Holland, BBC-TV in England, West German Television, Czech Television, and many local television stations in the U.S. and abroad. Recordings of his music have been released on the New Albion, Angel/EMI, Cold Blue, Fontec, Aoede, Les Disques du Crepuscule, Gyroscope/Caroline, Icon, Materiali Sonori, and ABC labels. (Lentz Website: www.daniellentz.com).
Arlene Dunlap has been a member of various performance ensembles organized by Daniel Lentz since the early 1970s. As pianist and multi-keyboard performer, vocalist, and conductor, she has recorded Lentzs music for seven albums and has appeared as soloist in U.S. and European tours of his music. Music has been written specifically for her by Daniel Lentz, Harold Budd, Garry Eister, Jim Fox, Michael John Fink, Steve Dickman, and others. She has presented performances at The Kitchen, P.S.1, Experimental Intermedia Foundation, New Music America, Acadamie der Kunst, Cafe Einstein, National Gallery (Berlin), Belgium Radio and Television, Radio France. When not performing, she composes music for film, video, and dance.
Brad Ellis studied piano with Johanna Harris and composition with Henri Lazarof. As a performer, his career includes both concert performances and studio recording. For more than 20 years, he has played keyboards for the Daniel Lentz Group, with which he has toured the U.S., Europe, and Japan. As featured soloist, he performed the world premiere of Lentzs An American in Los Angeles, a concerto for keyboard and orchestra, with the Los Angeles Philharmonic. He may be heard performing Lentzs music on recordings on the Angel/EMI, New Albion, and Cold Blue labels. Ellis is an expert keyboard programmer and orchestral conductor and arranger who works regularly in those capacities for film and television composers Michael Hoenig, J. Peter Robinson, Joseph Vitarelli, Paul Buckmaster, Snuffy Walden, and others. His work with the late Oscar-winning composer Jack Nitzsche on Dennis Hoppers The Hot Spot brought him into the studio to work with Miles Davis and John Lee Hooker; and Ellis worked extensively with guitarist David Lyndley on Nitzsches soundtrack for Sean Penns Indian Runner.
Susan James, an accomplished singer/composer/guitarist who studied ethnomusicology and voice at U.C.L.A., has performed her music and that of others around the world. Her first recording was funded by Apple Computer's founders, who became fans of her music when she performed in a Palo Alto club. On tours throughout the U.S. and Europe, she has opened for Richard Thompson, Daniel Lanois, Billy Bragg, Jim Carroll, Rufus Wainright, Richard Buckner, Bob Weir, Rob Wasserman, Lindsay Buckingham, Jack Logan, and many others. Four albums of her songs and instrumental pieces have been released in the U.S. and Europe. The Los Angeles Times has called her " a master at exploring the emotional and sonic possibilities of the voice and guitar Ö creating an entire world of sounds and moods."
Jessica Karraker sang in the Daniel Lentz Group for numerous tours of the U.S., Europe, and Japan, including performances with the Los Angeles Philharmonic New Music Group and the Baltimore Symphony. She is the featured performer on a number of Lentz recordings and premiered many of his works. She has also premiered music by Michael Torke and Yoshihiro Kanno. Now active as a songwriter, Karraker currently is a Rocky Mountain National Park-sponsored artist.
David Kuehn, who trained as a classical pianist at UCLA, spent 20 years in the music business, a career that culminated with the position of Vice President of International Sales and Marketing for RCA Red Seal, where he managed teams on all continents. He has worked with many stars, including Leontyne Price, Van Cliburn, Michael Tilson Thomas, Denyce Graves, Dawn Upshaw, and the Boston Pops. Now retired, he lives on Cape Cod.
Paul MacKey studied voice with Marietta Dean and Bonnie McCollough and took master classes with Marcel Marceau and the Pilobolus Dance Troupe. Primarily a performer in musicals, his summer stock experience includes The Music Man, Brigadoon, Bye Bye Birdie, Funny Girl and Kismet, and he has had featured roles in the L.A.-area productions of Phantom of the Opera, Carousel, and Oliver!
Dennis Parnell, tenor/counter-tenor, studied voice with Louis Graveure, William Feuerstein, and Seth Riggs; conducting with Gregg Smith, Noah Greenberg, Steven "Lucky" Mosko; and composition with Morton Subotnik, and Mel Powell. He has performed in the premieres of numerous contemporary works, including R. Murray Shafer's The Black Theater of Hermes Trismegistos (part specifically written for Parnell), Morton Subotnik's Double Life of the Amphibians, and Lloyd Rodgers' Orpheus. He has been music director for a half-dozen L.A.-area churches, and cantor at the Malibu Jewish Center and Synagogue. As a composer, he has scored documentary and industrial films and television pilots. On the radio, he has hosted a number of programs, including the award-winning Global Village (KFAC), The New Global Village, and Our American Musical Heritage (KFAC). He has taught voice at CalArts, Pierce College, and Santa Monica College.
"On this album, which is nicely performed
is a good mix of short pieces. The two sections that really grabbed me are Is It Love? and Wolf Is Dead. Both set text in interesting ways, with a focus on individual phonemes that are manipulated in a formal process." David Toub, Sequenza 21
"Happy days are here again. In fact, I'm sort of surprised by how happy I am that Daniel Lentz's On the Leopard Altar is finally getting released on CD. (Has it really been over 20 years since this originally came out? Boy, does that makes me feel old... but still happy.)
Daniel Lentz emerged at a strange and exciting time for new music. For some reason, in the mid-1980s, it was hip to be pretty again.
and On The Leopard Altar is one of the best documents of this unique cultural moment. Its composer, Daniel Lentz, is one of the neglected stepchildren of Minimalisma damn shame because his
music is so sincere, unpretentious, appealing, and, well, pretty.
Vibrato-less vocals intone cryptic yet accessible texts over churning synthesizer patterns ... Clichés about love, death, and reincarnation are somehow transformed into toe-tapping confections... A chorus of wineglasses mysteriously emanates echoing audio cathedrals ... And sometimesI swearit even swings! Yes, I'm happy to say that On the Leopard Altar is still as infectious and fresh as ever, effortlessly bubbling and shimmering with levity, wit, and style. It's all so audaciously pleasant, genial, andthere's no better word for itlovable ... Thank you, Cold Blue, for rescuing this (almost) lost classic from obscurity."Stephen V. Funk, Blogcritics.org
"On the Leopard Altar
playful, inventive, engaging music." Glyn Pursglove, MusicWeb (UK)
"The panting pulse of the four voices added to the four keyboards in Is it Love? is delightful, just like the phonetic games of Wolf is Dead, featuring a similar line-up. Lascaux draws its deep harmonies from a glass harmonicawine glasses, specifically. Simple and delicate, the voice in On the Leopard Altar is meant to be lightweight and dreamy, and the same thing applies to the more ritual voices in Requiem resonating with the electric piano's celestial reverb." Classica-Repertoire (France)
"When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Daniel Lentz's music is way out in front." Kyle Gann, Village Voice
"He's a mature musician, already very active in the seventies, experimenting in sunny and nonconformist California with early loops and tape-delay with a subversive drive and a healthy dose of irony. music writing that encompasses everything, multiple vocalists, keyboards, sonic effects, romantic melodies and forms structured in a very ariose and seductive style. .... A post-modern suite, still disenchanted and meaningful, open to multiple levels of meaning."Aurelio Cianciotta, Neural (Italy)
|Daniel Lentz's website|