“Mayan Time/Mayan Tales” — more musc from The Mayan Cycle, by Jeremy Haladyna, with Jeremy Haladyna, piano and organ; Allison Bernal, soprano; Anthony Paul Garcia and Marjan Riazi, percussion; and Michele Forrest, oboe.
This is the second installment in what I hope is an endless — or, at least, open-ended — cycle of musical compositions derived from, and/or inspired by, the Mayan civilization that flourished on or near the Yucatan Peninsula in the free-form centuries before the Spanish Conquest. The first CD was like a sampler; this one has two specific themes: 1) the passage of time as conceived by Mayans, and 2) Mayan legends translated into musical structures by the amazing Haladyna.
I have a feeling that Mayan Time will be forever beyond my grasp. Here, for instance, is the discussion of it in the accompanying book: “electronic tracks in ‘2012 scale:’ lowest note 3114 B.C., highest note 2012 A.D., scale by Jeremy Haladyna.” I have no doubt that this means something quite concrete and specific, but I haven’t a clue what.
The tales are mostly tragic, and Haladyna’s music captures us fixed within each tale like flies in amber. What always puzzles me about his music is how something so weird can be so soothing. The are moments when I think, “Ah, Varèse!” and others when I think, “Ah, Messaien!” but mainly, as I follow Haladyna’s elegant trail of gleaming gemstones through the corridors of an impossible labyrith, I can only shake my head and sigh, “Ah, Mexico!”