THE MUSIC for Martha Clarke's "Garden of Earthly Delights" (now at the Warner Theater) begins with a French horn (or a euphonium? the program notes don't say) making a sound like the roar of a wounded buffalo.
A bit later, there are bird imitations on what sound like piccolo and slide whistle and something that could be the bellow of a dinosaur but is probably a bass saxophone or clarinet. A wide range of sounds is needed for a musical tribute to Hieronymus Bosch's wildly imaginative painting, which is the basis of Clarke's choreography. In Adam and Eve's garden and adjacent spots, Bosch has an elephant, a giraffe, lions, a unicorn and giant birds, besides animals that defy description and people engaging in colorful, X-rated activities.
Richard Peaslee, Clarke's composer-in-residence, has produced music in an enormous array of colors and styles to match the vivid doings on stage -- a lot of musical sound effects, a bit of pure, limpid melody and some exotic licks on what sound like Middle Eastern wind instruments as well as passing hints of Philip Glass-style minimalism.
The remarkable thing is that he does it all with only three very hard-working players: a cellist, a percussionist and a wind instrumentalist who seems to be adept on every instrument that can be activated by human lungs. Most people who are attracted to this music will want a recording simply as a souvenir of the stage show, but it is highly enjoyable in its own right, as is Peaslee's music for Clarke's "Vienna: Lusthaus" on the same recording.
GARDEN OF EARTHLY DELIGHTS --
(Musical Heritage cassette MHC 312098X). In performance, Friday and Saturday at the Warner Theater.