Ab nou corMusic of Frank Brickle

Brickle seduces listeners with luscious harmonies and a deft melodic sense. A master of vocal writing, he elicits a multitude of sharply etched vocal personae from his two singers, Haleh Abghari and Elizabeth Farnum. In The Creation, Abghari, as God, lovingly sings of the creation's bounty of forms, day by day, culminating on the 4th and 5th days with a deeply moving kind of bluesey American weltschmertz.

The mystery play continues with the angels, Lucifer, and his fall, as Abghari becomes the irresistable embodiment of a boy soprano, a loveable little solipsist who eventually gets his comeuppance. Elizabeth Farnum opens the recording with Farai un vers, Brickle's setting of a famous and famously enigmatic poem by Guillaume D'Aquitaine, the "first troubadour," set in its original language, Occitan. Farnum shakes the rafters with her jaunty-slapstick-cabaret delivery -- Edif Piaf & Lotte Lehmann meet Rosemary Clooney and the Andrews sisters. The CD also includes several exquisite little miniatures. Among them are Genius Loci, for mandolin and guitar, a bizarre little newgrass aria; and Midnight Round, for four electric guitars, a psychedelic riff on the Thelonious Monk tune, Round Midnight. Rounding out the album are two transcriptions for the Cygnus "broken consort": a fin-de-siecle gem by Busoni, and an 11th century masterpiece by Perotin.