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Artist: Ethel
Ethel - Light CD
Label: Cantaloupe Music
Regular Price: $14.95
On Sale For: $7.48 
Year: 2006
Format: CD


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This second solo CD by the New York-based string quartet called Ethel is made up of twelve short pieces by nine composers. It is one of the most thoroughly entertaining collections I've heard this year. The energetic performances--rhythmically sharp, brave, and altogether involving--match the remarkable creativity of the composers. Just to single out a few: Marcelo Zavros' first piece, "Arrival," begins in a whirlwind, reminiscent of Adams' "Shaker Loops" but soon travels in a different direction; Mary Rowell's "Sambula" and "Also Sprach Einstein" are deeply rooted in hillbilly, hoedown music (the latter even features the grey parrot who lives at the Knoxville Zoo and was winner of the Pet Star show on Animal Planet as well as Randy Crafton on whistle); against a tapping bow and pizzicato strings, Pamela Z's "Ethel Dreams of Temporal Disturbances" features a warm woman's voice speaking quotes from Public TV ("This was made possible by the generosity of viewers like you"), an attempt to sing "There's no business like show business" that keeps getting interrupted with a thud and other odd occurrences; Zavros' "Sickness and Death" is a touching threnody; Mary Ellen Childs' "After Dust" is a sultry tango. If all this sounds complicated or too strange, it isn't: it's a fun 54 minutes of music-making that's entertaining, bright, and new.

Cornelius Dufallo: violin; Ralph Farris: viola; Dorothy Lawson: cello; Mary Rowell: violin. Guests: Randy Crafton: whistle (2,12); Einstein the African Gray Parrot: vocals (12); Erin Gray: vocals (12); Vijay Iyer: piano (7); Pamela Z: vocals & samples programming (7).

Pelimanni's Revenge
Ethel Dreams of Temporal Disturbances
Sickness and Death
After Dust; #3
Also Sprach Einstein

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