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“I am finally able to say that I write for orchestra— even if I have to make the orchestra myself.” — Robert Ashley
Robert Ashley is known primarily for his theater-based pieces and television operas. This new release presents the world premiere recordings of two of his “orchestral” pieces, Superior Seven (concerto for flute), and Tract (for orchestra and voice), where the orchestra is provided by a MIDI synthesizer. In Superior Seven, the flute floats freely in and out of an atmospheric electronic sound tapestry. It is a colorful, kaleidoscopic, ever-changing soundscape pervaded throughout by a sense of playful whimsy. Tract, on the other hand, is cut from an altogether darker cloth. The voice is used as one of the orchestral timbres in a piece that is resolutely mournful and dirge-like in tone, a wordless lament.