Fox: Catalogue Irraisoné


Catalogue No: MSVCD 92103
EAN/UPC: 809730210327
Release Date: November 2009
Discs: 1
Total Playing Time: 53:00

In 1998 leading contemporary British composer Christopher Fox began work on a new commission, a piece that was to be ‘evening-long, and not a concert’. The result was the quasi-dramatic ‘installation piece’ Everything You Need to Know – a body of musical material which can be deployed in many different ways. Fox realized that the work needed a guide – a parallel version of the same ideas in a different form, rather like the ‘catalogue raisoné’ at an art exhibition. Thus was born a series of pieces for solo voice, as recorded here for the first time under the supervision of the composer and with his appearance as narrator. The sections are based on a series of multiligual texts from various sources including Virgil, Dante, tourist guides and essays. The ‘catalogue’ is about ideas, remembrance and the possibility of improbable connections. In itself as a sound work it is absolutely and positively unique.

Performers: Christopher Fox (speaker), Julia Doyle and Juliet Fraser (sopranos), Jimmy Holliday (bass), Tom Williams (Counter-tenor), James Weeks (speaker, director)

Track Listing

    Christopher Fox:

  1. I. Catalogue Irraisonné – I Rationale (3:19)
  2. II. Catalogue Irraisonné – II Scanner (4:16)
  3. III. Catalogue Irraisonné – III Patrol (5:52)
  4. IV. Catalogue Irraisonné – IV Hanging Line (7:33)
  5. V. Catalogue Irraisonné – V Dialodia (2:52)
  6. VI. Catalogue Irraisonné – VI Triptych (4:12)
  7. VII. Catalogue Irraisonné – VII Urtext (2:37)
  8. VIII. Catalogue Irraisonné – VIII Outsider (7:12)
  9. IX. Catalogue Irraisonné – IX Babel (3:17)
  10. X. Catalogue Irraisonné – X Security Code (5:31)
  11. XI. Catalogue Irraisonné – XI Errata (4:03)
  12. XII. Catalogue Irraisonné – XII Index (2:11)


The Independent On Sunday

By turns seductive and rude, playful, violent and gloriously low-tech

” —Anna Picard

I found most of these pieces fairly interesting … most are composed for solo voice, with sopranos Julia Doyle and Juliet Fraser exemplary in the combination of perfect vocal placement, pitch and rhythm. The brief appearance of counter-tenor Tom Williams showed that he has a really splendid voice, The interesting tightrope walked here between seriousness and wry humor will, I am sure, lead different listeners to hear this music and get different things out of it than I did.

” —Lynn René Bayley

RECORDING OF THE MONTH July 2011: Fox has demonstrated an interesting and imaginative approach to the setting of words,,, extremely impressive performance with a wonderful sense of interaction and energy. Enchantingly expressive… overall this is a highly engaging and fascinating work, which has enormous appeal. The performance by Exaudi is exemplary and standards of production are equally high. Not to be missed.

” —Carla Rees

Fox is experimenting… with the distinction between song, speech and declamation and Exaudi serve these technique-stretching demands keenly. The surface might be disarmingly simple, sometimes serene even, but there’s a deeper wisdom at play that keeps these aphoristic statements rewinding in the imagination.

” —Philip Clark
Musical Pointers

Christopher Fox’s Catalogue irraisoné, for solo voice or vocal ensemble, teeters on the edge of music. each piece seems little more than a precisely annotated index card for something of more weight, housed somewhere else. Their collection hints at an inscrutable culture, with its own rituals and strange art. This world hides itself behind a peculiar bureaucracy, but its threat still permeates even the most objective utterances. EXAUDI bring the disinterested commitment of the archivist or bibliographer, leaving the mystery and meaning of this music to us to uncover.

” —Tim Rutherford-Johnson