Monday, March 5, 2012

"William James's Varieties of Religious Exprience"

Cover of the CD, graphic design by
Anges Steiner, fleurons by Laurenz Feining.
"William James's Varieties of religious experience": A chamber Opera by Gene Pritsker. Photos and article by K.K.W

After the event "Where words leave off.." @ The Italian Academy on Amsterdam avenue(Miranda Cuckson/violinist, was playing), I headed downtown to Gene Pritsker's CD release party/show @ Le Passion Rouge on Bleecker Street. It was an amazing show. 

The chamber opera by Pritsker(8 tracks, featuring the talents of Lynn Norris/soprano, Chanda Rule/gospel voice/ mezzo soprano, Charles Coleman/baritone), is an engaging, cool look into the mind and emotions of those looking closer @ religion. Part intellectual religious experience, spoken-word and personal testament, its a strange, brilliant road that expands before you via the musical mind of one of NYC's best. Moving between slightly somber, off-beat instrumentals and narration, its arranged with care and skill, and draws you into mind of the individual in question. Faith in doubt, or secured.

WJVRE presents a scene that's personal and yet familiar to the listener, with a dark-comedic edge. The chamber opera is akin to certain modern kinds of movies and plays with its use of narration/monologue's('Annie Hall', 'Betrayed'-released by Culture Project). There are aspects of "musicals" with the characters singing their thoughts, that is their current state of questioning, or understanding. This is tied with its operatic format to heighten the drama, while at the right moment the narrator steps in, changing the dynamics.

The vocals and dialogue are both satirical and highly introspective, tinged with a deep need to know, and therefore understand. #1/"William James's introduction", and #6/"William James's Genuine perceptions of truth" are great examples of this. Its interesting an cool the way #6 sets it up for #7/"Tolstoy", by mentioning Tolstoy in the dialogue, and then speaking from his point of view or one of his characters in #7. 

Gene Pritskers "William James Varieties of Religious Experience" is a truly eclectic contemporary chamber opera, that exudes various musical forms, without being overwhelming. Its cool as a cue ball, with the power of introspective drama through classical, and the down-to-earth non-conformity of the "Beat Generation". So kick-back, open your mind and take a trip without the jet-lag. 

If you would like to know more, go, "Art is the reason, art is the way"
Kim Pritsker/Announcer.
The Narrator

Lynn Norris/soprano 

Chanda Rule/gospel voice, mezzo soprano

Charles Coleman/Baritone, Dan Barrett/Cello,
and Gene Pristker/composer/Electric guitar

Dan Barrett and Gene Pritsker

Lynn Bechtold/Violin 

This was a dance number add to  the show.
Dan Barrett/Cello

Dan Cooper/7 string bass,
and Gene Pritsker/electric guitar

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