Set for a 2018 release with NAXOS/Vision into Art
HECUBA is based on Euripides’ play of the same name. Written sometime around 424 BCE in Athens, Hecuba enacts the revenge of the disgraced queen of Troy, Hecuba, mourning the loss of her many children. According to some, Hecuba was Euripides’ best play; for others (notably Schlegel), it is his worst, bogged down by an overblown style that makes melodrama of Hecuba’s agonized undoing. Oracle’s portrait of Hecuba isolates her most enduring moments: her assertion that she will cling to her daughter “like ivy to the oak,” (“Bolero”) or the hallucinatory image of her body covered in screaming mouths (“100 Tongues”).
With the exception of the single “Where Did You Go?” (co-written by Doug Balliett and Elliot Cole), each of the songs on HECUBA was co-created by the four composer-performers of Oracle, its opening and closing tracks (“Helen” and “No Comfort”) bearing most overtly the traces of the group’s improvisatory style. Featuring Jason Treuting (of So Percussion) on drums, the album’s “slice-and-dice postproduction” leans electro-acoustic with equal crafting by mix engineer Chris Botta, and Oracle’s Elliot Cole.
Originally commissioned and produced by Opera Cabal, HECUBA received a work in progress performance with the Chicago Composers Orchestra (Constellation, 2014) and will debut as a live electronic show for the first time at the Toledo Museum of Art on September 23, 2017. The album drops on Naxos/VIA in 2018.
…“blend[s] ideas from across time and land into elegant tunes where serpentine melodies are cradled and cajoled by exquisite arrangements.”
… “features gripping slice-and-dice postproduction, with [Majel] Connery’s crystalline voice chopped into percussive phonemes amid chattering acoustic guitar zigzags and stuttering drums.”
- Chicago Reader