Frank Horvat’s Fractures is a very interesting new CD. It sets eleven texts for soprano and piano on the themes of fracking, environmental degradation and climate change. It’s a tough listen; not because it’s preachy or hard on the ear but rather because there is a degree of irony in the texts, the music and the performance that somehow makes the situations described even more horrible.
There’s a Faustian quality to the texts in the sense that we all (or at least most of us) go on doing the things we do even though we know, long term, it’s indefensible and we, or our children, will pay for it. And that’s true whether we drive an SUV or work for an oil company or lease our farm to a fracking company. Or for that matter fail to address fossil fuel development for fear of losing votes and tax revenues.
On this CD the sense of irony is reinforced because the music is as ironic as the text and the performers; Meredith Hall and Brahm Goldhamer allow themselves great freedom in performance style. It’s particularly apparent in Hall’s delivery which ranges from speaking to classical art song singing with just about every variant of vocal delivery between the two. There’s a sense of total commitment which is very compelling.
The recording was made at Humbercrest United hurch in Toronto and it’s clear, detailed and well balanced. The digital booklet has full texts, bios and composer’s notes.
Despite, or perhaps because of, my visceral reaction to this CD I really recommend it. It’s fine, unconventional and highly committed music making. It’s available to stream, as MP3 or as .WAV files at https://frankhorvat.com/discography/fractures. I listened to 24bit/96kHz .WAV files.
Catalogue number: I Am Who I Am Records LTLP19