Pasa Tem­pos

Pasatiempo - - PASATIEMPO -

Mu­sic by Mar­i­lyn Manson and Jan Pi­eter­szoon Sweel­inck

MAR­I­LYN MANSON The Pale Em­peror (Hell, etc.) The cover art for Mar­i­lyn Manson’s ninth stu­dio al­bum is de­voted to a blurred black-and-white pho­to­graph of the enig­matic front­man, who is dressed in a dap­per suit. The record’s ti­tle refers to fourth-cen­tury Ro­man em­peror Con­stan­tius I, also called “Con­stan­tius the Pale” — and it’s easy enough to see a com­par­i­son be­tween the an­cient ruler (who was known for his sickly ap­pear­ance) and the singer (who cakes his face in white foun­da­tion). Never prone to sub­tlety, Manson has cre­ated a batch of 10 songs here that will ap­peal to any­one with a bent for the dra­matic. Bear­ing ti­tles like “Cupid Car­ries a Gun” and “The Mephistophe­les of Los An­ge­les” (a sur­pris­ingly mel­low and poignant track), many of th­ese seem to con­cern them­selves with clas­si­cal mythol­ogy. In “Deep Six,” the sec­ond sin­gle, he croons the word­play-heavy re­frain, “You wanna know what Zeus said to Narcissus?/You’d bet­ter watch your­self.” This is a moody al­bum in which many songs tran­si­tion be­tween Manson’s es­tab­lished industrial-rock feel and the more straight­for­ward grunge modes of the 1990s. “Third Day of a Seven Day Binge” lay­ers Manson’s low, dron­ing voice and a screech­ing gui­tar solo over a driv­ing, bluesy beat. The Pale

Em­peror oc­ca­sion­ally of­fers a hint of con­tem­po­rary in­flu­ences — The Black Keys come to mind — sug­gest­ing that Manson re­mains in the world of the living be­tween al­bums, rather than in some kind of suspended im­pe­rial iso­la­tion. — Loren Bien­venu

SÉBASTIEN WON­NER Jan Pi­eter­szoon Sweel­inck: Ma Je­une Vie a une Fin (K617) Walk into the Ri­jksmu­seum in Am­s­ter­dam and you’ll see his face glow­ing out from a stained­glass win­dow: Jan Pi­eter­szoon Sweel­inck, a tow­er­ing fig­ure of Dutch mu­sic. Hailed as the “Or­pheus of Am­s­ter­dam” and the “maker of or­gan­ists,” Sweel­inck (1562-1621) at­tracted a stream of as­pir­ing or­gan­ist-com­posers to study with him, and sev­eral es­tab­lished what be­came known as the North Ger­man or­gan school, which ul­ti­mately led to the crown­ing glory of Jo­hann Se­bas­tian Bach. Sweel­inck’s key­board mu­sic is most fre­quently played by or­gan­ists, but it also springs to life on the harp­si­chord, as it does in this el­e­gantly ren­dered recital by Sébastien Won­ner. The Low Coun­tries served as a hot­bed of harp­si­chord build­ing in the 17th cen­tury, and Won­ner plays a copy of a harp­si­chord built in 1612 by the Ruck­ers shop in An­twerp, one that ef­fec­tively unites two sep­a­rate harp­si­chords (tuned a fourth apart) into a sin­gle in­stru­ment. The sound cap­tured by K617’s en­gi­neers is warm, vi­brant, and close-up; the ef­fect is quite like what a harp­si­chordist hears from his per­spec­tive. Pages are filled with fig­u­ra­tions of flow­ing, dec­o­ra­tive scales, which Won­ner in­ter­prets with rhyth­mic fi­nesse and im­pe­tus. Among the most win­ning of the 14 num­bers in his recital are rav­ish­ing vari­a­tions on such popular songs of the day as the Pad­u­ana Lachry­mae and the Pa­vana His­pan­ica (you’ll rec­og­nize both) and fan­tasies on Protes­tant hymn-tunes. — James M. Keller

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