Christopher Fox: Catalogue irraisoné


Release Date: November 2009
Label: Divine Art Recordings Group
Length: 53 minutes

In 1998 leading contemporary British composer Christopher Fox began work on a new commission, a piece that was to be ‘evening-long, and not a concert’.


In 1998 leading contemporary British composer Christopher Fox began work on a new commission, a piece that was to be ‘evening-long, and not a concert’. The result was the quasi-dramatic ‘installation piece’ Everything You Need to Know – a body of musical material which can be deployed in many different ways. Fox realised that the work needed a guide – a parallel version of the same ideas in a different form, rather like the ‘catalogue raisoné’ at an art exhibition. Thus was born a series of pieces for solo voice, as recorded here for the first time under the supervision of the composer and with his appearance as narrator. The sections are based on a series of multiligual texts from various sources including Virgil, Dante, tourist guides and essays. The ‘catalogue’ is about ideas, remembrance and the possibility of improbable connections. In itself as a sound work it is absolutely and positively unique.

Christopher Fox Catalogue Irraisoné

Delivery & returns

Delivery costs: £2 UK, £5 EU & £7 worldwide. Items are usually dispatched within 48 hours.
Full refunds are available up to 28 days after receipt, payable on return of the items. Contact to set up return delivery.


“Christopher Fox’s Catalogue irraisoné, for solo voice or vocal ensemble, teeters on the edge of music. Each piece seems little more than a precisely annotated index card for something of more weight, housed somewhere else. Their collection hints at an inscrutable culture, with its own rituals and strange art. This world hides itself behind a peculiar bureaucracy, but its threat still permeates even the most objective utterances. EXAUDI bring the disinterested commitment of the archivist or bibliographer, leaving the mystery and meaning of this music to us to uncover.”  Musical Pointers

“Twelve short movements (in almost as many languages) describe the architecture of Barcelona, the rivers of Hell, Corsica and Rachel Whiteread’s House. Spoken, shouted, crooned and declaimed by EXAUDI’s voices, rarely but impactfully in dialogue, the work is by turns seductive and rude, playful, violent and gloriously low-tech. The spirit of Kurt Schwitters lives on.”  The Independent

“Catalogue irraisoné distils that material for vocal ensemble EXAUDI as “a guide…like a catalogue for an exhibition of visual art” to his larger work. Everything you need to know about Everything You Need To Know… Fox is experimenting, he says, with the distinction between song, speech and declamation, deliberately querying boundaries of comprehensibility, and EXAUDI serve these technique-stretching demands keenly. Group director James Weeks snarls, shouts and whispers text as he stamps on the floor in rhythm; bass voice Jimmy Holliday is locked into an obsessive-compulsive melodic loop that collects new modules additively; soprano Juliet Fraser duets with “natural” singing put against her voice filtered through a megaphone; Fox himself slips between speech and stylised Sprechstimme. The surface might be disarmingly simple, sometimes serene even, but there’s a deeper wisdom at play that keeps these aphoristic statements rewinding in the imagination.” Gramophone

Subscribe to our mailing list

EXAUDI registered address: School House, East Howle, Ferryhill, DL17 8RX
EXAUDI Company Number: 7134930.  Charity Number: 1134465
Design by Marshall Light Studio