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Mark Abel releases 5th recording for Delos - 'The Cave of Wondrous Voice' / PERFORMING ARTS MONTEREY

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AFTER A BRIEF STAY at Stanford University in the late 1960s, Mark Abel was active on the New York rock scene during the 1970s and early 1980s, leading his own groups, producing the bands The Feelies and The Bongos, and playing on albums of Tom Verlaine and former Left Banke mastermind Michael Brown. He returned to California in 1983 and worked in mainstream journalism for two decades, eventually becoming foreign editor of the San Francisco Chronicle. He moved away from rock during that period, immersed himself in classical and gradually began developing his hybridized style. Six CDs of Abel's music have appeared in the past dozen years.   The Dream Gallery, a 69-minute song cycle for seven soloists and chamber orchestra depicting the lives of imaginary archetypal Californians, caught the interest of pianist Carol Rosenberger, director of the Delos Productions label, leading to its recording by the La Brea Sinfonietta.  This is Mark's fifth release on Delos and is devoted to chamber, including Four Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva with soprano Hila Plitmann, the first of which provides the album with its title.

The Sybil (1922) is a powerful and unusual poem depicting the ancient oracles, which some mythologies contend were decayed trees into which God breathed a temporary life and human form - only to disappear into an astral whirlwind when their time of service elapsed.

Sibyl: burnt out, sibyl: stump. All birds perished, but God has come.

Sibyl: drunk up, sibyl: waste. All veins shriveled: the zealot prays!

Sibyl: has-been, Sybil: gape Of fate and death - Ancient tree among maids.

Sovereign tree in the naked wood – At first, fire rustled as foliage should.

Then under closed eyelids – rushed and stunned, Through dried-up channels God spewed in.

And, swiftly despairing of outside help: With heart and voice fallen: into myself!

Sibyl: all-seeing! Sibyl: vast! Annunciation was done in that

Immortal hour, when grass turned gray, And fleeting maidenhood became a cave

Of wondrous voice… A whoosh of stars - Sibyl: as she quits this earth.