Daniel Lentz

October 2013 Podcast

Interview by Leslie Westbrook, KCBX, NPR, Santa Barbara, CA

VOICES
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Voices

VOICES

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A collection of dynamic vocal works including A Tiger In The Garden, Talk Radio, Abalone, & Temple of Lament

Performances by Harold Budd, Brad Ellis Hall, Megumi Hashiramoto, Jessica Karraker Lowe, Gene Bowen

Genre: Avant Garde: Classical Avant-Garde

Release Date: 2000

WOLF MASS
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Wolf Mass

WOLF MASS

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A very contemporary rendition of the traditional latin mass, mixing environmental issues with those imbedded in the mass



Genre: Avant Garde: Modern Composition

Release Date: 2000

"...a truly astounding work.... It lasts an hour and is exhilarating all the way." Los Angeles Examiner. March 24, 1988

"...a wonderful mixture of technology and wild nature.....this music, although generally experimental, sounds gorgeous." Japan Times. November 17, 1991

HUIT OU NEUF PIÈCES DORÉES À POINT
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Huit ou Neuf

HUIT OU NEUF PIÈCES DORÉES À POINT

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Dinner music for the musical gourmand, based on 9 dishes the composer enjoyed at some of the best restaurants in Paris. Many of the sounds used are digital samples of those one finds in a fine restaurant: fine wine glasses and flatware, dishes, voices, et al.

Genre: Avant Garde: Classical Avant-Garde
Release Date: 2000

WILD TURKEYS
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Wild Turkeys

WILD TURKEYS

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A compilation of four Lentz masters, Is It Love, The Crack In The Bell, Wild Turkeys & wolf is dead.

APOLOGETICA
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Apologetics

APOLOGETICA

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In the library of a small Catholic college in Pennsylvania I found the complete Chilam Balam, the sacred books of the Maya Indians of Yucatan. The prophet Balam in his 15th century writings foretold of strangers from the east who would bring a new religion to the Maya. It was from these books that most of Apologetica's text was gleaned.

The choral-string piece Totoka (track 3) and the introducton to the song Lovely Bird (track 5) use texts created from mixing Hopi and Navajo words and phrases. Apologetica, the final work in this set of pieces uses a text drawn from The Tears of the Indians, a 1542 book by Fray Bartoleme de las Casas, the Spanish Bishop who was known as the Protector of the Indians.

Apologetica went through several incarnations before reaching its final form of 14 pieces -- ten songs and four instrumental interludes. The texts, created by Sheilah Britton and myself, are as true to the spirit of the original sources as possible.

"Back in the mid-80's, Lentz was regarded as a younger West Coast equivalent of minimalist Philip Glass. Lentz definitely works the same musical territory (emphasizing vocal sounds, literary texts, repetitive patterns and the familiar motoric pulse of "traditional" minimalism), which has allowed undiscerning listeners to dismiss him as a second-rate Glass copycat. But this is unfair, because Lentz definitely has something to offer, as demonstrated brilliantly on this CD, which is arguably his finest piece of work to date. Using English translations of Mayan, Hopi and Navaho texts which foretell the disastrous coming of the white man, Lentz has put together a concert-length work of fourteen movements performed by I Cantori and The Archbishop's Ensemble, supplemented by the extensive use of a MIDI keyboard for additional orchestral and other sampled sounds. As befits such a somber theme, the music on this CD is largely slow and mournfully beautiful -- a kind of extended lamentation. An obvious point of comparison would be the slow movements in Glass's score for the film Koyaanisqatsi, itself a meditation on a Hopi prophecy concerning the destruction of the world. But Glass's music for the film also underscores Western society's agitated and frantic fulfillment of the prophecy, whereas the music of Lentz communicates dominant impressions of sorrow and loss, and has strong liturgical overtones. Lentz may still be operating in Glass's considerable shadow, but Apologetica can hold its own against anything in Glass's body of work."
--Bill Tilland, BBC

"The gorgeous harmonies and gelatinously impressionist orchestrations of Lentz's magnum opus will cause modernist sourpusses to write this off as New Age music. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Listen to the elision of words in the first movement, as 'despair' in the men's voices blends into 'This pair of eyes see' in the women's, and then 'eyes see' merges with 'My sea is red with our blood' in the men again. Add to that disarming text-setting approach Lentz's unobtrusively odd meters like 7/4 and 5/4 and his use of MIDI keyboards with string orchestra and chorus, and you've got a sumptuous but utterly original work, far stranger than it sounds. The poems, by Lentz and others, do homage to indigenous peoples killed by the Spanish, and the beauty is meant to heal and help mourn as well as soothe. If you can't hear the originality through the caramel surfaces, clean your damn ears out. A PLUS"
--Village Voice

"Now he's come out with a 50-minute choral magnum opus, Apologetica (5 stars). Brief, well-chosen texts by himself and others commemorate the tragic slaughter of indigenous American peoples by the Spanish, and the unusual orchestration of strings and MIDI keyboards seem to always surround the singers of I Cantori with a halo."
--Pulse Magazine. December, 1998

"The latest addition to the Lentz discography is the beautiful and ethereal Apologetica.... this music has a deceptive clarity and lightness... structures become elastic and chords and lines overlap,, creating open-sounding, mesmerizing webs rather than fixed nusical constructs."
--The Independent. Santa Barbara, California

MISSA UMBRARUM
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Missa Umbrarum

MISSA UMBRARUM

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Winner: Twentieth Century Masterpiece Award for the Best Composition For Voice

The performance notes for Missa Umbrarum (1973) instruct the conductor to begin by pouring red wine into the glasses the chorus will play as they sing. The chorus performs on the wine glasses by variously rubbing the rims with moistened fingers; striking the bowls, stems and bases with mallets and knuckles; and tipping the struck glasses to bend notes. Pitch changes per individual glasses are accomplished by sipping the wine.

The text is drawn from the Ordinary of the Mass, the most solemn service of the Roman Catholic church, which commemorates and mystically invokes the Last Supper. ... "Missa Umbrarum" (Mass of Shadows) refers to a compositional technique in which the text of the Mass is rendered through a 'sonic shadow' process.
-Daniel Lentz

"Achieves a totally original blending drawn from exotic forces, an overall sound at once contemporary and evocative of ancient voices under some imagined Gothic roof." -Newsweek

"A galactic Mass of the stars ... like a gamelan orchestra playing a Bach Mass." -Down Beat

WALK INTO MY VOICE
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Walk Into My Voice

WALK INTO MY VOICE

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American Beat Poetry set to music by Harold Budd, Daniel Lentz, Jessica Karraker

Poems by
Lawrence Ferlinghetti
Michael McClure
Philip Lamantia
Diane Wakoski
Kenneth Petchen
Denise Levertov
Jessica Karraker

ON THE LEOPARD ALTAR
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On the Leopard Altar

ON THE LEOPARD ALTAR

Cold Blue Music »

"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

Reviews of On The Leopard Alter

"Should've been a hit... a strange record." Paul McCartney, in MOJO Magazine. August, 1998

"Simply one of the most beautiful records I've heard." Artitude. August. 1985

"On The Leopard Altar is a stunning record of clarified timbres and interlocking rhythms. Even more enlightening is the incredible sense of emotion that pervades the music...." - Recordings of Experimental Music. Winter, 1985

"One way to gauge the effect of On The Leopard Altar is to literally road test it. Take it out onto the fast lane of the nearest Interstate at a palpable volume and see if the overlapping synthesizer lines and crisp vocal syllables of "Is It Love" don't put you right there in the essence of traffic -- separate, driving energies darting and thrusting toward unseen destinations. This record is a study of sonic polish and forward motion." MIX: The Recording Industry Magazine. August, 1984

LOS TIGRES DE MARTE
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Los Tigres de Marte

LOS TIGRES DE MARTE

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Swirling, compelling music with wildly branching roots touching everything from Debussy and Delius to bop to techno. Sometimes lush and enveloping, sometimes brittle and percussive; sometimes suspended and motionless, sometimes agitated. Featuring clarinetist Marty Walker with string quartet and electronic keyboards.

"When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Daniel Lentz's music is way out front." —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

"By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile. That’s certainly true of this new release." — Gramophone

"Sonically dense music . . . music of near orchestral force and scope." —Molly Sheridan, NewMusicBox (American Music Center)

"One is immediately immersed in a beautiful landscape" —ClassicalNet

POINT CONCEPTION
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Point Conception

POINT CONCEPTION

Cold Blue Music »

This CD combines Lentz's wild nine-piano tribute to the octave, Point Conception (originally issued as a Cold Blue LP in the mid-80s), with Lentz's previously unrecorded NightBreaker, a kaleidoscopic and explosive tour de force for four pianos.

An exciting roller-coaster of a work, NightBreaker ambles, jumps, careens, pauses, and flings itself forward. Point Conception amasses and bubbles over with incessant streams of octaves (harmonic and melodic) running the length of the keyboard. Both pieces revel in and comment on late-19th-century harmonies and harmonic motion.

Through overdubbing via a "cascading echo system," long-time Lentz Ensemble pianist Arlene Dunlap performs all of Point Conception's parts. Likewise, through overdubbing, noted Los Angeles pianist Bryon Pezzone performs all of NightBreaker's parts.

"Lentz has devised a unique bit of piano literature. It simultaneously glorifies the acoustical grandeur of the grand piano and regales its legacy with technology and sly insouciance. Point Conception is Lentz's backhanded answer to the cool purr of ambient piano music. Such is the typical Lentz reply; tossing knuckleballs into extant musical traditions, but doing so with disarming grace." —Los Angeles Reader

"Two absolutely gorgeous works for overdubbed acoustic pianos." —Electronic Musician magazine

"A wonderfully churning, whirling, oceanic soundscape that occasionally calls La Mer to mind." —Stephen Eddins, All-Music Guide

"Point Conception grabs you and never lets go. It has ... that peculiar "avant-garde-but-oh-so-easy-to-enjoy" feel one consistently finds in Cold Blue’s catalog." —François Couture, All-Music Guide

Point Conception ... a rollicking process piece." —Kyle Gann, The Village Voice

"And which composer best represents Los Angeles? Could it be, oh, I don't know.... Daniel Lentz? Los Angeles Reader. August 28, 1987

"Heir to the legacy of the likes of Ives and Cage... is composer Daniel Lentz... Don't expect anything ordinary from this man -- he's forging his own erratic and highly original path through the minefield of contemporary music, pioneering ideas that are certainly unusual, mostly beautiful and unfailingly controversial." Upbeat Magazine

In the Sea of Ionia

IN THE SEA OF IONIA

Autumn 2012

Cold Blue Music »

Wild new multi-keyboard music.

"When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Daniel Lentz's music is way out in front." —Kyle Gann, The Village Voice

"By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile." —Gramophone

"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, WNYC, New Sounds

"Lentz's work 'chortles' in ways both sensual and intellectual." —Los Angeles Reader

"Daniel Lentz’s work, with its … glossy, Pop Art-Southern California palette of colors … seems to reveal new facets with each encounter." —Dusted magazine

CAFÉ DESIRE
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Cafe Desires

CAFÉ DESIRE

Cold Blue Music »

"When it comes to attempts at musical seduction, Lentz's music is way out front." —Kyle Gann, Village Voice

"By intriguing his listeners at the same time he wreathes them in smiles, Lentz always comes up with something listenable and worthwhile. That’s certainly true of this new release." — Arved Ashby, Gramophone

"Daniel Lentz’s work, with its sparkle and pulse, has long evinced hallmarks of the minimalist style. But Lentz has often brought a glossy, Pop Art-Southern California palette of colors to his work."
— Dusted

COLD BLUE TWO
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Cold Blue Two

COLD BLUE TWO

Cold Blue Music »

New music by various composers

Music by 15-16 composers—some already associated with the Cold Blue label, some new to the label. Among them are Daniel Lentz, Ingram Marshall, Gavin Bryars, Peter Garland, Rick Cox, Larry Polansky, David Rosenboom, James Tenney, Phillip Schroeder, Michael Jon Fink, Jim Fox, Chas Smith, and others.

Like its now-classic predecessor anthology, which was simply entitled "Cold Blue," this is not a sampler of works on the Cold Blue label but an anthology of new and previously unreleased music.

Cold Blue Two celebrates the 25th anniversary of the vinyl release of Cold Blue(he first anthology).