Any Resemblance is Purely Coincidental
for computer, synthesized voice, piano & viola with Enrico Caruso, Baird Dodge, Alan Feinberg, Joan La Barbara
Like almost all of Dodge's music, the Elegy is restrained but romantic, elegantly controlled, moving.
--The New Yorker
If there is one piece identified with Dodge, a "signature" piece if you will, it would have to be "Any Resemblance..." which has those qualities that seem to imbue his work in general -- charm, wit, poignancy and technical brilliance. The texture is rich, the piano playing a dramatic and dynamic role, but there is never the sell out to the trickier potentials of an idea like this one. Dodge restrains, and the piece is informed with a sad, ironic wit which points to a profound realization. Both "Any Resemblance..." and "Speech Songs" share this centrality of theme which must have something to do with loneliness and searching. Actually, in "Any Resemblance..", not all is restraint; it is in fact thrilling when the voice and piano find each other in the 'climax'.
Enrico Caruso not only epitomizes the end of the Romantic era in music (as does the aria "Vesti la giubba") but he also represents the beginnng of the modern age in which practically all music becomes electronic, as he was one of the first musicians to become a best-selling recording artist. The composer has said that he has always wanted a great performer to play his music, and finally found one who was in no position to refuse. The idea of 'publicness' of the recording becomes a trope for Dodge, allowing him to make a statement about the 'loneliness of the great performer.' I think there is also a deeper level concerning the situation of any artist whose work must exist in the public domain but who must grapple with a core of loneliness.
Available here: iTunes
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New Albion Records, Inc.