Mini essay written by Neal Brown (Vincent Units, Tesco Bombers etc) specifically to mark this Amos and Sara release;
AMOS AND SARA (1981-1983)
Amos and Sara Sing The Private World of Amos
and Sara were one of the twentieth century’s greatest musical polymath
duos, equally adept at composing, conducting, performing and theory.
Their style was similarly varied, ranging from the dense expressionism
of their early one-act operas, to the vast symphonies of their maturity.
Like several important composers of the period, they were opponents of
bourgeois culture, with a political commitment to making ‘useful’ music
(Gebrauchmusik) that was direct in its appeal, and in which they
succeeded with high creative intelligence. Their standing, as seminal
figures of modern music, was partly undermined by their diversity, but
their reputation never really declined, and has undergone a huge
reappraisal in recent years.
Amos and Sara Sing The Private World
of Amos (1981) represents what was, at the time, a distinct move back
towards traditional melody, but which is contradicted by discomfiting
messages to a nightmare world, and depictions of struggles of personal
and political power. Its various presentational structures include
laments, subjugations, and expressions of the peasant’s hatred of their
lords, in the context of a sometimes overwhelming multiplicity of
subject themes: moral negotiation, mistrust, social class, distress,
comedy, wild adventure, chemical derangement, as well as anarchic joy,
The work shows great technical expertise, but it is far
from being a didactic display of classical orthodoxy, as everything
here is subjugated to deeply felt personal expression. There are moments
of sonorous beauty, but also atonal punctuations – as well as
contrapuntal moments – all of which are radical departures from the
orthodoxies of then traditional forms, such as punk.
lucidity and rhythmic expression of this recording, and its remarkable
themes, ensures ongoing recognition of this work as one of Amos and
Neal Brown (Tesco Bombers) - London, England. 2016