Here’s one for radio stations afraid of playing new music, a 2002 mini-opera actually created for the radio medium which conjures up the sonic milieu of World War II through simulating a 1940s radio broadcast and musicalizing it. Based on a text by Kurt Vonnegut, the performance is given extra authenticity by actually featuring Vonnegut as the voice of the General in addition to casting iconic WKCR jazz DJ Phil Schaap, as, you guessed it, the voice of the radio announcer. The instrumental ensemble conjures up an appropriate swing-era sound world with some unexpected orchestrational twists admittedly borrowed from Stravinsky’s Histoire du Soldat: the obligatory trumpet, trombone, and clarinet frontline is joined here by bassoon and violin, and there is no keyboard, the usual grounder of swing, which allows the music to float beyond time.
Printed on the disc is a parental advisory warning of explicit content. Let’s hope this will attract the attention of younger audiences