Created by composer/performer Jay Cloidt and writer/singer Amanda Moody, the music theater piece D’Arc: woman on fire receives its premiere recording on this new CD. D’Arc features performances by ex-Kronos Quartet cellist Joan Jeanrenaud on six of the eleven songs. Also performing on the recording are cellists Danielle DeGruttola and Elaine Kreston, pianist Jon Herbst, and guitarist Will Bernard.
Weaving the threads of the Dark Ages with our own dark times, the lyrics of D’Arc depict a present-day intercession by Saint Joan of Arc into the life of a contemporary mother, whose daughter vanished while working abroad in a war-torn region. St. Joan intrudes into the modern world through bizarre visions revealed through the cold flame of a television set, challenging today’s Joanne to listen to the call of her own life.
The songs on D’Arc include a newly-written hymn setting of 14th-century lyrics, delicate acoustic duets and solo cello works, and intense electronic music. Cloidt weaves musique concrète elements into the music, along with electronic elements and acoustic instruments, to underscore the voice and cello parts. Amanda Moody’s vocal performance runs the gamut from medieval hymn singing to gospel wailing to full operatic bravura, and Cloidt has set her lyrics to an extremely wide range of vernacular styles and semi-abstract electronic textures. The music is intense and intelligent, yet emotional and accessible.
Cloidt is a composer and sound designer working in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has collaborated with many groups, including the Paul Dresher Ensemble, the Margaret Jenkins Dance Company, ODC/San Francisco, and Kronos Quartet. His works have been performed throughout the U.S., Europe, and Asia, including performances at Lincoln Center, Royal Festival Hall, the Concertgebouw, and many other venues. Starkland previously released Cloidt’s Kole Kat Krush CD to widespread acclaim. Stereophile awarded it 4 stars, stating that Cloidt is “one of the few composers in the post-sampler era to fully develop that tool’s fascinating and witty potential.” Cloidt released another MinMax CD, Spectral Evidence, in 2007, featuring two string quartets performed by the Cypress String Quartet. Sequenza/21 said Spectral Evidence was “…engaging, attractive, and extremely crafty.”
Writer/actress/singer Amanda Moody’s critically acclaimed work, Serial Murderess, won the 2001 Dean Goodman Award for Outstanding Achievement in Theater, and the SF Bay Guardian's Best of 2000 Award for great solo performance. Her original oratorio, Bitter Harvest composed by Kurt Rohde, premiered with the Berkeley Symphony Orchestra conducted by Kent Nagano. BackStage West said, “Moody’s virtuosity – as writer, singer and actor – is awesome.”