In all of our memories no one had been so outspoken in poetry before—we had gone beyond a point of no return—and we were ready for it, for a point of no return...We wanted voice and we wanted vision….
—Michael McClure recounting Allen Ginsberg’s first reading of Howl in 1955
At once a painfully intimate poetic cry and anthem to the Beat Generation, Soundings presents Allen Ginsberg’s Howl in Lee Hyla’s setting for string quartet and narrator, with baritone William Sharp and the Brentano String Quartet. Ginsberg’s poem is in itself a “new kind of music…a portal of resonance where there is no separation between the listener and the sound,” words used to describe its companion work on this program, Travis Laplante’s Palace of Wind.
The poet James E. B. Breslin captures something essential in Palace of Wind when in his description of Howl he says, “Howl links the visionary and the concrete, the language of mystical illumination and the language of the street.” Battle Trance, the tenor saxophone quartet created specifically for Palace of Wind, brings us a work that defies genre, existing in the cracks between contemporary classical, avant-garde jazz, black metal, ambient, and world music.