This is maybe the first time a classical CD “single” has come my way. There are just two tracks, each clocking in at six minutes and sixteen seconds and both are versions of Elliot Goldenthal’s 1975 work Jabberwocky. The first is a setting of the the well known Lewis Carroll poem for bass-baritone and woodwind quartet (bassoon, clarinet, oboe and horn). In the second the singer is replaced by a second bassoon.
The vocal version is the revised version of 1982. It’s a quirky, atonal piece that suits the text well with lots of opportunity for the soloist to use colours to show us what, for example, a Jubjub bird might sound like. The textures of the chosen instruments too seem apt for Carroll’s imaginary forest. It’s rather fun. The textless version has some interesting colours but the sung version definitely has more going for it.
The singer is Charles Temkey and he really enters into the spirit of the thing pulling off a very enjoyable performance. Erik Höltje is on bassoon, doublimh himself on the second track. The rest of the ensemble is made up of David Gould, clarinet; Alexandra Knoll, oboe and Zohar Schöndorf, horn. The cleanly recorded disk is presented in a simple card sleeve with a surprising amount of information crammed in by means of a truly minuscule font.