This is probably an unfair entry for the Worst CD Ever Made Award, since Ezra Pound was a poet and not a composer, and because the performances are as spirited and as dedicated as one could ask. But what are they spiriting and dedicating themselves to? Pound’s throwback medievalism from two operas Le Testament and Cavalcanti set French, Italian and Provencal texts, and the singers go after them with guttural abandon. Shrieks, that husky form of vocalizing, something that sounds like Sprechstimme — all are on display here. Stravinsky and Satie knew how to make this sort of thing sound like music, but it eluded Pound. The works date from 1920 to 1933, in case anyone cares.
The instrumental works include a solo violin work from 1923, the Fiddle Music First Suite. Wandering, Stravinskian lines traverse the air, ultimately leading nowhere interesting.
The packaging again makes this perhaps more a curiosity than the Worst CD Ever, with its 80-page booklet; biographies of every singer, none of whom you have heard of; texts in translation; and two essays including score examples. Opening it up again today for the first time in years, an Errata card fell out, pointing out that the rhythmic stresses on page 42 are printed incorrectly. The Errata card lists the correct poetic stresses above the line of poetry, and the musical stresses below. I can think of a few more Erratum which are not listed on the card.
Oh, yes: Clips can be heard here.