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World Music CD Reviews North American

BANG ON A CAN

By MARIE ELSIE ST. LÉGER
Published April 7, 2006

Bang On A Can Classics
Cantaloupe

Bang on a Can is the brainchild of avant-garde composers Julie Wolfe, David Lang and Michael Gordon, who founded the one-day festival in 1987 to present new works to audiences unaware of their hunger for the next big thing. In the 16 years since, Bang has spotlighted other composers as well, including Harry Partch and Steve Reich. The enterprising trio also founded the Bang on a Can All-Stars; the sextet (or octet, depending on when you catch their performances) tours internationally, spreading the message of Bang’s now year-round programs of original music, concerts, festivals and interdisciplinary partnerships. Bang On A Can Classics revisits the group’s first releases on Sony; included are Lang’s rhythmically teasing “Cheating, Lying Stealing,” Wolfe’s sometimes ferocious “Lick” and Nick Didkovsky’s avant-jazz and vaguely rockish “Amalia’s Secret.” The quasi-greatest-hits collection offers a glimpse at the variety of today’s “classical” music, which reaches far beyond Mostly Mozart and the stuffy confines of concert halls.