- gene pritsker: william james' varieties of religious experience - a chamber opera by gene pritsker
(2012, cd, usa, naxos / composers concordance comcon007)
A bit over a year ago, the Innova record label released Gene Pritsker's "VRE Suite" (Varieties of Religious Experience Suite) as recorded by the Sound Liberation ensemble. It was a pretty impressive album, mixing contemporary classical music with rock and jazz. I remember being very impressed by the nice melodies and by the interaction of the cello and the guitars. I definitely have to play that album again.
Imagine my suprise when I found out that the "VRE Suite" had been re-recorded. The complete title reads "William James' Varieties of Religious Experience - A Chamber Opera by Gene Pritsker". It turns out that the album that got recorded by the Sound Liberation ensemble only carried the soundtrack for Gene Pritsker's chamber opera. This time, you get the complete package: a cast of six vocalists (singers & narrators) and a quartet (two electric guitars, a cello and contra bass).
It's rather astonishing how much diffent this version sounds. The Sound Liberation ensemble recording had more of a rock feel (with the electric bass and drums), but this chamber opera performance has these beautiful vocals. I like it.
I will have to give this disc a couple of extra listenings, and I will be searching for the libretto on Gene Pritsker's website, but I already find it fascinating.
If you liked what the Sound Liberation did with Gene Pritsker's "VRE Suite", you definitely have to check out the chamber orchestra recording.
I wasn't able to find a soundclip of this album, so here's a little video of the Sound Liberation ensemble performing the VRE Suite in concert.