Robert Ashley

DUST, an opera by Robert Ashley and Yukihiro Yoshihara (video direction) whose imaginary setting is a street corner anywhere in the world, where those who live on the fringes of society gather to talk, to each other and to themselves, about life-changing events, missed opportunities, memory, loss and regret.

Five "street people" recount the memories and experiences of one of their group, a man who has lost his legs in some unnamed war. As part of the experience of losing his legs, he began a conversation with God, under the influence of the morphine he was given to ease his pain. Now he wishes that the conversation, which was interrupted when the morphine wore off, could be continued so that he could get the "secret word" that would stop all wars and suffering. (90 minutes)

Voices: Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Jacqueline Humbert, Joan La Barbara; Musicians: "Blue" Gene Tyranny, synthesizer, Tom Hamilton, live mixing and sound processing; electronic orchestration by Robert Ashley, Tom Hamilton and "Blue" Gene Tyranny; sound effects for "Friends" composed by Tom Hamilton.

"As a composer, Mr. Ashley is a superior writer. He has the gift of simple language that springs forward with a wonderful rhythmic grace. The pauses are deftly calculated. Sometimes words bleed into musical tones, but most of the music is in simple pop-chord harmonies moving through basic cadences. Said in a better way, the true music in "Dust" is in the language and its delivery."
— New York Times, April 19, 1999

"Dust features the voices of Robert Ashley, Sam Ashley, Thomas Buckner, Tom Hamilton, Jacqueline Humbert, and Joan La Barbara. 'Blue' Gene Tyranny and Tom Hamilton provide synthesizer and live mixing. The electronic orchestration is by Robert Ashley, Tom Hamilton and 'Blue' Gene Tyranny, with sound effects for 'Friends' composed by Tom Hamilton. This recording was made live at the Kitchen in April of 1999. Modeled upon the medieval form of a motet, Dust layers the voices of five characters, drawing upon the 'street-talk' practice of speaking and hearing at the same time. Introducing new techniques in vocal and orchestral styles, and featuring video projections by Yukihiro Yoshihara, Dust conjures up a futurist fusion of dream and reality to deal with questions of memory and irretrievable loss. Through a series of related works over the past two decades, Robert Ashley has connected opera with stream-of-consciousness poetry, with advanced forms of narrative and with new ideas about the nature of operatic ensemble. A major figure in American experimental music theater, the depth of Ashley's librettos reveals a highly developed literary mind as well as that of a first rate composer."
— from Forced Exposure

Album Notes

Disc 1
1. Friends (15:00)
2. Theosophy (9:57)
3. The Priest (9:57)
4. If There's Anything... (9:57)

5. The Little Gun (9:57)
6. Friends (2:53)
7. No Legs (8:30)

Disc 2
1. Don't Get Your Hopes Up (6:02)

2. Just One More Time (6:56)

3. It's Easy (4:36)
4. The Angel of Loneliness (5:04)

2-CD jewel box and 160 page libretto in slipcase.

CD 1006
List Price: $34.99