Robert Ashley

An opera commissioned by Bayerisher Rundfunk Munich's Hörspiel und Medienkunst department about an internationally renowned swindler, who almost took down the European and American banking system. Featuring the voices of Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jackie Humbert, and Joan La Barbara. Recorded and mixed by Tom Hamilton.

Your Money My Life Goodbye is one of forty-nine vocal-ensemble pieces of various lengths (from 10 minutes to 90 minutes or more) that can be used in many kinds of combinations to make an opera for stage, for radio or for television. Any of the combinations go under the title of the "opera," The Immortality Songs. When any of the pieces are performed separately, as in Your Money My Life Goodbye for Bayerischer Rundfunk, they take their individual titles. I have finished seven of the compositions. It looks like a lifetime of work. Hence, the title.

In all of the forty-nine compositions some aspect of the musical structure (or many aspects of the musical structure) derive directly from the English language of the libretto. This process of derivation can be secretive and arcane (the music based, for instance, on grammatical structures or on the probability of the recurrence of certain syllables) or, as in Your Money My Life Goodbye, open and obvious. I think that the open and obvious approach - in this case, matching the syllables of the English (and the German) to the rhythm of the title-line, and matching the voice choices to the occurrence of the "characters" in the text - is a good solution to the "light-hearted" nature of the text.

The story is simple. A woman responds to an invitation to attend a high-school reunion by sending her son, because she is incapacitated for some unknown reason. In describing her son, we get the idea that he is a high-level "intelligence agent" (a spy). A sort of James Bond character. The woman writes that her son's wife will not attend the reunion, because she is recently dead, either from suicide or murder. The son's wife is described in great detail from various newspaper articles. She was an internationally renowned swindler, who almost took down the European and American banking system. She was a successful entrepreneur. Your Money My Life Goodbye doesn't take this seriously at all. Everybody is crazy.
— Robert Ashley, 1998

"To seduce the casual radio listener, text-based recordings must caress the ear and ignite vivid images in the mind's eye. Hailed for his unconventional operas, Robert Ashley's Your Money My Life Goodbye recounts a fractured tale of a woman disptaching her secret agent son to her high-school reunion. Like operas of all eras, the plot is convoluted and contains sections where listeners must strain to catch the words, both of which serve as effective attention-commanding devices. Additionally, gradually changing bass pulsations and repeated filter sweeps as well as the richly reverberated resonance of each chracter's voice make Your Money My Life Goodbye a treat for the ears."
— Christopher Delaurenti

"Crazy, light-hearted, this is Ashley at his best with an old gang of favorites including Joan LaBarbara, Jacqueline Humbert, Thomas Buckner and Sam Ashley."

Album Notes

Track Listing:

1. C-III (8:37)
2. Endorsements (4:38)
3. More Endorsements (5:37)
4. Ms. Ona (2:00)
5. Ms. Ona Speaks (3:15)
6. C-III & Ms. Ona Continued (12:16)
7. Details (3:24)
8. She Speaks Again (17:17)

9. End of Story (5:12)

CD 1005
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