John Zorn: A Capella Vocal Music
Kirsten Sollek, Eliza Bagg, Elizabeth Bates, Sarah Brailey, & Rachel Calloway
Over the years John Zorn has written music for all kinds of ensembles in all sorts of styles, reflecting his voracious listening habits. Still, some may be surprised to encounter this side of his output, writing for a cappella groups in a manner that somehow collides early music and 50s jazz group singing. There’s a fantastic dislocation that occurs in these pieces, with elements usually separated by centuries butting up against one another.
As Arlo McKinnon wrote for Opera News, “Zorn’s homage is further enhanced musically by his incorporation of plainchant melodies he created in Hildegard’s uniquely soaring melodic style. As the work progresses, a vast panoply of vocal techniques are employed, creating unusual mixtures such as music reminiscent of organum accompanied by pop vocal harmonizing techniques that one might more readily associate with 1960s groups such as the Rip Chords or the Swingle Singers.”