Author: Morgan Garwood --- Date: 03/24/96 --- Copyright: ThingReviews NYC

Glenn Branca
Symphony #9
The Polish National Radio Symphony conducted by Christian von Borries
Copyright 1993 by Brancamusic, recorded in Katowice, Poland, October 1994

Since it got a thumbnail review in Wired, you'd figure that Glenn Branca had come up with a major work here... his "symphony" #9 does have some teeth, but shortish and slightly rounded ones. Reminiscent of Debussy played backwards, a dash of Steve Reich's *Different Trains*, and a pinch of Witold Lutoslavski for added astringency, it comes off as a derivative work making an honest attempt to transcend its sources, but doesn't quite, to cop the title of a new book, attain Escape Velocity. It could be described as a *watery* piece, watery unto being drowned... its emotion as much claustrophobic as etherial, a murky half-dream state from a downer-drug while laying in a raft in a tunnel... on the strong side you can smell the algae, the sloshing canal odors, the indeterminate state of unfocusedness, but for Christ sake, Man, do something with it! Add a flute, an accordion, a bandoneon, an electric carrot, anything, but wake it up, bring it to life!

BTW, John Cage, the liner notes take pains to inform us, hated Branca's music, and didn't want to live in a world that featured it. He needn't worry... I expect that Branca will remain the subject of a limited audience until he grows (and begins to question his compositional assumptions). John Zorn, by comparison, adolescent and annoying as he can be, has attained a degree of playfulness, wit, and surrender to absurdity that so far eludes Branca, who appears to be concerned with being taken seriously...

This disk contains two pieces, Symphony #9 @47.05 minutes, and Freeform @ 11.43 minutes.
Published by Point, cat #446-505

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David Miller --

Too bad that whoever's marketing Glenn Branca's material is still relying on that old story about John Cage. Cage changed his mind about Branca afterwards. The original story is good for generation-gap sensationalism, but bad for accuracy.

christian --

morgan garwood u should email me i have som questions about yr piece

Steven Senger --

Glenn Branca has won my respect through this piece. There is no one I know of that compares to his style.