The Continuing Story of Counterpoint, Parts 5-8
made in USA
With all compositions in this second installment of the Counterpoint series composed within a two year span, from 1977 to 1979, these selections perhaps have more uniformity than those on the other two disks in the series --although Borden has contrived to establish intricate and sometimes obscure musical relationships among all 12 parts of the series.
As for the music on this disk, and Borden's music in general, some critics would undoubtedly regard his uniformity as too much of a good thing, and it is true that Borden's music tends to be rather "worked out, " and normally without much of an emotional or dynamic range. But for those who have the ears for it, the music is often involving and quite beautiful -- in a civilized, understated way.
Although comparisons with Bach have probably been overdone (counterpoint, after all, is a standard part of the Western musical language), Borden does seem to have a general aesthetic affinity with the early Baroque period, when music had a generalized spiritual quality and the individual ego was subordinated to a larger world of musical, philosophical and theological ideas. Not that Borden's music is overtly religious, but it does commit itself to certain large-scale ordering principles, which distinguishes it from the eccentric and often egotistical self-expression of later periods in classical music.
One of the unusual and characteristic qualities in Borden's work, especially on this CD, is the combination of hyperkinetic 16th note patterns and long, floating drones, which creates an aural illusion of music which is racing forward and standing still at the same time.
This is especially true of the three sections of Part 8, which have a softer, slightly romantic sensibility than their companions, and are probably the most compelling pieces on the CD.
The instrumentation and processing is slightly different on this CD than on the first in the series, with Borden alone on keyboards (although quite likely multi-tracked), along with the wind instruments, electric guitar and the soprano voice of Ellen Hargis sampled and used very effectively as an instrumental color.