Rolling Classical 2017

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Following up from 2016 Rolling Classical Listening Thread

I just got into Nathan Shubert tonight, after "Folds" was linked on the textura blog. I bought this little EP on Bandcamp. It's just very pleasant minimalism with some mild preparations on the piano (felt on the strings I believe), recorded very hot. While it's not worlds away from Boomkat-classical-thread music, something about it connects with me: probably the sparseness, the prepared sound, the more evident debt to Reich.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 02:01 (nine months ago) Permalink

New-to-me raves so far this year:

Daniel-Lesur - Symphony of Dances - stunning mid century french post-stravinsky but v v original

Frank Martin - Mass (thank you DJP for your advocacy of this ravishing piece), Der Weise von Liebe und Tod des Cornets (crazy lengthy modernist voice + orchestra piece on Rilke texts)

Schumann-Fantasie (Hans Zender's freewheeling orchestral explosion of the Schumann solo piano masterpiece)

Ernst Toch - The Chinese Flute (a more skeletal das lied von der erde for midcentury modernists - fucking great)

on deck and excited to hear - sund4r alert - Faisceaux-Diffractions by the french composer Eloy, for electric guitars and large ensemble, written in 1970

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 17:27 (nine months ago) Permalink

Ha, I tried listening to the 1975 song from the ILM eoy poll and, yep, Eloy is definitely more my speed so far. Sounding great 6m in.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 18:35 (nine months ago) Permalink

That kicked ass. Thanks for the tip. Are there recordings other than this one?

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 18:59 (nine months ago) Permalink

that's the one I got a vinyl rip of. If there are no others, it would seem ripe for a new recording on BMOP or Canteloupe or something

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 19:02 (nine months ago) Permalink

OK I've listened now too. What a great piece. I didn't know one of the two guitars was gonna be a very sixties sounding bass, giving me a welcome Amok Time vibe. I love the brushstrokes the organ is filling in.

Was looking around online, looks like the only CDs in print of Eloy stuff are from his own private label. He seems to have done a lot of more purely electronic work in recent times.

his eye is on despair-o (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 25 January 2017 22:28 (nine months ago) Permalink

I finally found this essential LP (Julian Bream - 20th Century Guitar) at a great price! I have this CD but, as you can see, it leaves out the Britten, which was the piece I wanted the second-most, after the Brindle, which is all-time for me. Listening now, it was definitely worth it to get this on vinyl: such clarity and warmth. Music from that era so often sounds better on LP imo.

Also picked up this 1982 compilation of modernist composers from the greater Boston area. I picked up Vol. 1, from 1980 some months back and quite enjoy it.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Saturday, 28 January 2017 21:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

Going to buy Meredith Monk tickets this weekend!

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Saturday, 28 January 2017 21:53 (nine months ago) Permalink

i'm just a classical dilettante but i wanted to share that i love this johannes monno album of bach works for lute - just v chill and relaxing music which to me is generally most important regarding classical music

Mordy, Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:18 (nine months ago) Permalink

Oh wow, thanks. Fugues for guitar are my thing. I listen quite a bit to Heiki Matlik's disc of the Bach lute works. I'd be eager to hear a new set and this sounds good.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Wednesday, 8 February 2017 00:43 (nine months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

I listened to the first act of the Met's current production of La Traviata on WCNY/WJNY while driving today. Not only was that the most I've ever enjoyed Italian opera but it somehow really all clicked today and felt incredibly beautiful. Not sure exactly why. (Maybe something to do with listening to a lot of dissonant emo this week?)

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Sunday, 12 March 2017 04:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

seeing traviata in april, hoping it's better than the last met opera i saw which was flatly terribly staged

removed from the rain drops and drop tops of experience (ulysses), Thursday, 16 March 2017 15:09 (eight months ago) Permalink

the met operas I've seen since I moved here are a real hodgepodge basically governed by my policy of always saying yes to any free opera ticket I'm offerred, while remaining too broke to actually purchase tickets to my favorite operas (Pelleas, etc)

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 16 March 2017 16:52 (eight months ago) Permalink

yep yep which means G'LUCK

removed from the rain drops and drop tops of experience (ulysses), Thursday, 16 March 2017 16:53 (eight months ago) Permalink

Gluck, father of modern opera? Have yet to see one of his.

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 16 March 2017 17:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm listening to this guitarist today:
The Carter and (especially) Henze sound really good imo. Might interest Evan.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Sunday, 19 March 2017 22:14 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm spending an evening with my complete Celibidache-does-Bruckner edition, which means "one symphony from the set." Went with 4. people give Sergiu a hard time for the liberties he takes with tempo but honestly the scherzo is downright spritely! when my hearing's truly gone this is some of the music I'll miss most

though the tempest rages, (Joan Crawford Loves Chachi), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 01:21 (eight months ago) Permalink

My colleague is a leading Bruckner scholar. It's one thing I've never gotten into but I should address that.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 02:03 (eight months ago) Permalink

Bruckner strikes me as one of the hardest symphonists to get right, and not just because of the editing challenges. I'm averse to Karajan for the usual reasons, but his Bruckner, much like his Strauss, is the only one that could make a true convert out of me. A shame that his second set (for DG) has yet to be properly remastered. Sometimes I reach for Barenboim's with the Berlin Philharmonic but the thoroughness and fluidity I hear in Karajan's versions are almost nowhere to be found. As for Celibidache, he preaches to the choir, doesn't he?

pomenitul, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 03:29 (eight months ago) Permalink

I love celibidache in bruckner (I have him doing #4, 5 and 7)

My bruckner collection is very omnivorous. I don't know any one conductor who lights them all up for me -- I like klemperer for #6, jochum for #9, Boulez for #8, etc.

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 12:41 (eight months ago) Permalink

Just got two interesting-looking CDs in the mail:

- the Nash Ensemble performing two string quartets and a string octet (a format I've never encountered before) by Max Bruch, a composer with whom I am also entirely unfamiliar;
- the Goldner String Quartet and pianist Piers Lane performing a piano quintet, a cello sonata, and a string quartet by Alexander Borodin.

Both on the Hyperion label.

Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 16:45 (eight months ago) Permalink

The music on both of those is terra incognita to me too. I do have a few discs I like by the Nash Ensemble, but dating back to their days on Virgin Classics. Piers Lane did a great disc on Hyperion of all the Scriabin etudes.

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 21:32 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm partial to the Borodin quartets as played by… the Borodin Quartet.

I've never heard the Goldner Quartet, but Piers Lane has always struck me as overly genteel in his approach. His Scriabin Etudes lack the daemonic qualities I hear in Alexander Melnikov, Yevgeny Sudbin and Maria Lettberg, to name but these three (the latter recorded the Etudes as a whole, as part of her astonishing box set comprising all of Scriabin's solo piano works!). Perhaps Lane fares better in the Borodin, but I can't say my curiosity's piqued.

And speaking of Alexander-who-tried-to-bring-about-the-end-of-the-world, Roger Woodward's recording of the late piano works is something else entirely. Here's his Vers la flamme:

pomenitul, Tuesday, 21 March 2017 21:56 (eight months ago) Permalink

Yeah I have that Woodward album, it's great stuff

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 21 March 2017 22:31 (eight months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's sounding good.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Thursday, 23 March 2017 20:17 (eight months ago) Permalink

I'm really enjoying this recent BIS disc, featuring works for string trio by living Nordic composers:

Bent Sørensen's Gondole comes across as a distant tribute to Liszt's late works, i.e. some of the most genuinely ghost-ridden music I've ever heard, meshing quite well with Sørensen's own neo-decadent aesthetic. Nørgård's Strings, for string trio, and Tjampuan: 'Where the Rivers Meet' for violin and cello, are both from 1992, around the time he began to synthesize his infinity series and the kookier, Wölfli-inspired style that followed in the 1980's—intense stuff, especially the trio. The quality of Saariaho's output has been on the wane since L'Amour de loin (I prefer her textures to her melodies), but Cloud Trio is quite evocative, and at times it unexpectedly gestures towards Bartók's quartets. As for Henrik Hellstenius, his name was unfamiliar to me, but he apparently studied with Gérard Grisey in the early 1990's. I hear precious little spectralism in Rift, which brings to mind a more expressionist Nørgård. Regardless, I'd say it's a highlight, and now I'm curious to hear more of Hellstenius's music.

And since I mentioned Sørensen, his latest Dacapo disc, featuring works for piano and chamber orchestra, strikes me as one of his finest so far, assuming you're on board with his 'decaying daguerreotype' shtick (I personally adore it). As a bonus, last year ECM put out a disc by Frode Haltli, which also contains some top-tier Sørensen material (It Is Pain Flowing Down Slowly on a White Wall, for accordion and string orchestra), as well as some characteristically pieces by Hans Abrahamsen, including the marvellous Three Little Nocturnes, played by Haltli and the Arditti Quartet.

pomenitul, Friday, 24 March 2017 15:50 (eight months ago) Permalink

that looks great, thanks for the note. My eMusic credits have refreshed and I'll at least get the Sorensen and Saariaho tracks. I'm a sucker for a late Liszt homage and still a Saariaho fanboy. BTW, have you ever heard Heinz Holliger's orchestral arrangements of two of the late Liszt pieces (Nuages Gris and Unstern)? They are fucking incredible. They were recorded on an extinct el cheapo Arte Nova CD which can still be found used, and done live by Rattle/Berlin which was broadcast and is on torrents.

chip n dale recuse rangers (Jon not Jon), Friday, 24 March 2017 19:59 (eight months ago) Permalink

I haven't, and I worship Holliger, so I really appreciate the heads up. Thanks!

By the way, assuming you're unfamiliar with it, Marko Nikodijević's orchestral 'remix' of La lugubre gondola, cvetić, kućica…, is also worth hearing. Here's a live recording from YT:

pomenitul, Friday, 24 March 2017 20:12 (eight months ago) Permalink

Seth Colter Walls has a really good writeup on Glenn Gould's two recordings of Bach's Goldberg Variations on Pitchfork today. I just bought A State of Wonder, which combines both recordings, plus a third disc of outtakes from 1955 and an interview with Gould.

Don Van Gorp, midwest regional VP, marketing (誤訳侮辱), Sunday, 26 March 2017 14:32 (seven months ago) Permalink

My choir is currently singing Ildebrando Pizzettis Requiem from 1923, I think. Lovely music, most of it.

Also Max Reger. Whom I like less and less, honestly.

Frederik B, Monday, 3 April 2017 10:43 (seven months ago) Permalink

Du Yun wins the pulitzer, over Ashley Fure and Kate Soper. And I'm wondering if this is the first time all three nominees were women. For, like, any music prize in the world ever...

Frederik B, Monday, 10 April 2017 19:28 (seven months ago) Permalink

A lot of the current composers I enjoy the most are women. I'd include Soper in that number but I don't know the nominated piece. I'll listen to all three of these. Thanks.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Monday, 10 April 2017 19:31 (seven months ago) Permalink

So glad you're doing this, ulysses. And extra glad you didn't put a choral composition by Reger on there, because I hate them at this point :)

Frederik B, Monday, 10 April 2017 19:39 (seven months ago) Permalink

Do we have a thread to discuss women composers?

pomenitul, Monday, 10 April 2017 19:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

Not afaik. I think most of the classical music discussion on ILM happens on this thread (except for the Boomkat-classical thing)?

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Monday, 10 April 2017 19:46 (seven months ago) Permalink

Oh, "Only the Words Themselves Mean What They Say" has become a movement of the Soper work that was nominated? I really love that piece (now a movement)!

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Monday, 10 April 2017 20:04 (seven months ago) Permalink

Lucretius Alap, Michael Pisaro, 2009-12

String Quartet:
Lorenz Gamma, violin 1
Min Lee, violin 2
Mark Menzies, viola
Mona Tian, cello

Been feeling this..

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Monday, 10 April 2017 20:42 (seven months ago) Permalink

also, the first track of the Michael Pisaro/Reinier van Houdt 3XCD, the earth and the sky

braunld (Lowell N. Behold'n), Monday, 10 April 2017 20:48 (seven months ago) Permalink

I look forward to hearing Du Yun, Ashley Fure and Kate Soper's music.

In the meantime, I've been relistening to Helena Tulve's first release, Sula, and the title composition, a tone painting of a glacier's gradual thaw, is as overwhelming as ever:

pomenitul, Tuesday, 11 April 2017 14:16 (seven months ago) Permalink

Ulysses, I get it could easily be a hassle, but would it be possible to request a movement for the spotify list? The Agnus Dei of the Pizzetti Requiem is lovely, and only takes two minutes :)

I also ask, because a new cd with my choir singing translated Danish songs will be out in a few weeks, and I know what my favorite tidbits are :) Langgaard, Holten, Gudmundsen-Holmgreen (RIP). Good stuff!

Frederik B, Tuesday, 11 April 2017 16:09 (seven months ago) Permalink

np, added.

Bobson Dugnutt (ulysses), Tuesday, 11 April 2017 16:17 (seven months ago) Permalink

it's lovely!

Bobson Dugnutt (ulysses), Tuesday, 11 April 2017 16:19 (seven months ago) Permalink

I know, right! It's just hard to get that chord around 1:00 perfect. Out of three tries we got it absolutely perfect once! Oh well, still one try left.

Frederik B, Tuesday, 11 April 2017 16:23 (seven months ago) Permalink

Speaking of Helena Tulve, Simon Cummings's retelling of this year's Estonian Music Days really makes me wish I'd been there:

pomenitul, Wednesday, 12 April 2017 16:41 (seven months ago) Permalink

^^^ 5 against 4 blog is a GREAT resource for downloads of new music broadcasts

iris marduk (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 12 April 2017 20:08 (seven months ago) Permalink

I've been exploring black metal and its precipitates and it brought me back to the 'classical' work that helped me overcome my longstanding aversion to 'cookie monster' vocals, Raphaël Cendo's Introduction aux ténèbres. Here's part I—

pomenitul, Wednesday, 26 April 2017 02:30 (six months ago) Permalink

This is cool. When I was in undergrad, my friend and I sometimes talked about how sometimes the vocals on Makrokosmos Vol 2 were a bit metal.

My Body's Made of Crushed Little Evening Stars (Sund4r), Wednesday, 26 April 2017 21:56 (six months ago) Permalink


gimmesomehawnz (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 26 April 2017 22:12 (six months ago) Permalink

I strongly recommend hearing the whole thing for full effect (it's on Donaueschinger Musiktage 2009, Vol. 2). Cendo's music in general is worth seeking out, especially if you're interested in his 'overdrive' principle.

For those who know French, he explains it quite well here:

pomenitul, Wednesday, 26 April 2017 22:20 (six months ago) Permalink

Going to see Penderecki String Quartet tonight. I went to all three of these new music concerts on Monday, which were mostly very good. The Chan Ka Nin string quartet was probably my favourite piece of them all, integrating Chinese folk-derived melodies with the gamut of contemporary string techniques. I will definitely be listening to more Brian Current. The Palej songs were lovely, too!

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Wednesday, 2 August 2017 16:10 (three months ago) Permalink

The string quartet concert was wonderful. I'd never seen P's 3rd live before and it was startlingly intense and powerful. The Murphy is a new piece that was commissioned for the quartet's 30th anniversary. I always enjoy her work and suspect that if she lived in NYC or Boston and knew the right people, she'd be a lot more famous. (Her aesthetic makes me think of something like a contemporary take on Bartok, with much more use of extended techniques/timbral exploration, with a lot of rhythmic energy.) It was also really nice to see the Mozart! A breath of fresh air in a week of new music.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 6 August 2017 20:52 (three months ago) Permalink

I picked up this CD, which seems v good so far.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 6 August 2017 20:53 (three months ago) Permalink

Anyone who has seen Andrew Norman's Play live? The piece won the Grawemeyer award this year, and it sounds fun on spotify, like the symphonic orchestral version of a lot of the stuff we've been talking about with Caroline Shaw and Kate Soper, and apparently it's amazing to see the way the musicians are playing it.

Frederik B, Sunday, 6 August 2017 21:02 (three months ago) Permalink

BBC Proms, going to three this week: Schubert 8 + Mahler 10 this Saturday.

glumdalclitch, Thursday, 10 August 2017 16:35 (three months ago) Permalink

My newest recent discoveries are Gesualdo's madrigals and Tenebrae, and Shostakovich's preludfes and fugues played by Tatiana Nikoleyevana.

glumdalclitch, Thursday, 10 August 2017 16:42 (three months ago) Permalink

Shostakovich's preludfes and fugues played by Tatiana Nikoleyevana

I love this set! Essential 20th century piano music imo.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Thursday, 10 August 2017 19:39 (three months ago) Permalink

Still catching up with downloaded recordings from this years proms. Dug the Julian Anderson premiere bookended by two neglected and excellent Liszt poems (cond. Volkov)

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 10 August 2017 23:11 (three months ago) Permalink

Anyone into Maurice Ohana? I've been checking out his 10-string guitar music recently, since I'm working on a piece for that instrument. Some very good stuff, with a lot of space and drama to it. "Cadran lunaire" is lovely. Evan, this might appeal to you.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 11 August 2017 16:13 (three months ago) Permalink

I'm listening to Graham Anthony Devine's recording on Naxos.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 11 August 2017 16:14 (three months ago) Permalink

I don't know anything about Julian Anderson btw. I should look into that.

This isn't the most novel observation but it's something I've been reminded of and thinking about a lot recently, after seeing Hewitt and the Chamberfest concerts: the audience for classical music, at least in the US and Canada, seems to be so overwhelmingly, well, old. I might estimate the median age to be over 60, even at new music events. (This doesn't really apply to electroacoustic or improv ime, but does seem to be the case for notated acoustic music.) I don't exactly know if it's because there was more of a mainstream classical audience before the poptimism of the 60s and 70s or because there's something about the music that appeals more to people as they age, but the former seems far more likely, which is more concerning, since it would suggest that there will be almost no audience in a couple of decades (unless young people decide to take it up in rebellion against their decadent parents). In a real way, the Western art music tradition is arguably a foreign cultural tradition in the US and Canada so I suspect that things might be different in e.g. Germany or Italy?

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 11 August 2017 16:28 (three months ago) Permalink

I feel like the Proms with its significant focus on big new works that are frequently pretty damn challenging could never ever exist here. Idk I think the situation outside North America is just not as dire. But that's not first hand knowledge on my part.

I LOVE Ohana. He was on my ilx ballot! He has a great guitar concerto btw, Trois Graphiques, which was recorded by Narciso Yepes and the LSO in the LP era. Any of Ohana's stuff mixing voices and instrumentation (e.g. Office des Oracles) is fantastic.

Definitely my favorite of the composers I've stumbled onto in the last five years. I'm hoping to find some literature on him.

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Friday, 11 August 2017 21:05 (three months ago) Permalink

Premiere of La Boheme yesterday, that's one of the funniest things I've ever done. That second act is absolutely great, that is one of the greatest things ever, kinda. Apparently, it's famous amongst real opera choir singers as one of the most difficult things in the repertoire, because it's so illogical, which is fascinating to me. Absolutely fascinating, the way the mass of the people is interwoven with the soloists.

I might be slightly drunk still... You know what's awesome? Going to a bar with a piano with an opera crew and having Rodolpho sing Nessun Dorma.

Frederik B, Saturday, 12 August 2017 10:40 (three months ago) Permalink

Reposting from experimental thread:

This is pretty cool:

― No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 14 August 2017 12:57 (seventeen minutes ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

(A piece for electric guitar and electronic signal processing, with some actually lyrical and beautiful moments)

― No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 14 August 2017 13:14 (0 seconds ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

Booklet here:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 14 August 2017 18:15 (three months ago) Permalink

I'll look into the Ohana pieces you mention, Jon.

I'm on a huge Schoenberg kick these days, in part because I'm reading Adorno but it just feels right for the times somehow.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 18 August 2017 02:09 (three months ago) Permalink

This seems like a good place to start for data on the aging audience btw:
The NEA studies can be Googled fairly easily.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 18 August 2017 02:23 (three months ago) Permalink

I was at the Schoenberg Gurrelieder conducted by Simon Rattle last night, and yeah, it was spectacular. Great structuring, but masses of detail too. If you can listen on BBC iplayer, check it out!

Good to hear you're keeping up with the proms, Jon. I agree, the commisioned pieces are a treat.

glumdalclitch, Sunday, 20 August 2017 16:04 (three months ago) Permalink

I'm streaming it here:

So far, wow. It's not like the Schoenberg I listen to the most but it's p impressive so far.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 20 August 2017 22:43 (three months ago) Permalink

HI DERE. Been meaning to say I saw some Mexican classical guitarist play in my neighborhood last Sunday and it was pretty good. And her name was... Zaira Meneses.

When I Get To The Borad (James Redd and the Blecchs), Sunday, 20 August 2017 23:23 (three months ago) Permalink

Got a great CD in the mail recently that I'll be reviewing; it's called Dowland & Benjamin: Seven Tears Upon Silence. It's by a group called Sit Fast who are five violists, joined here by a mezzo-soprano and a flautist. They perform John Dowland's Lachrimae or Seaven Teares, which is from 1600 or so, followed by George Benjamin's Upon Silence for mezzo-soprano and five viols, which is from 1990. It's really beautiful. It's on Spotify:

grawlix (unperson), Monday, 21 August 2017 00:22 (three months ago) Permalink

The classical label Ablaze has brought out a new music comp called The Pierrot Ensemble Vol. 1. About a half dozen composers on there. Assuming it is what it looks like, great idea.

I remember DG doing an online-only album of pieces inspired by Debussy's trio instrumentation years ago. I like this kind of thing.

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 21 August 2017 20:52 (three months ago) Permalink

There's a concert in NYC next month with a new work by Anna Thorvaldsdottir plus a Pauline oliveros piece; I'm totally going

I went to this! Were you there jon? I thought the Thorvaldsdottir piece was nice; the rest was emperor's new clothes.

btw, I've fixed up the playlist.

ILM's Rolling Classical Thread 2017 Spotify Playlist

Chocolate-covered gummy bears? Not ruling those lil' guys out. (ulysses), Tuesday, 22 August 2017 20:21 (three months ago) Permalink

No I couldn't go and I'm still bitter about it. Let's just say I found myself with not enough money in my bank account to buy a ticket and leave it at that :(

I'm sure the Thorvaldsdottir piece will get recorded soon.

Finally got that new John Luther Adams Canticles album. Staggeringly good, cannot wait to listen again.

Wanted to quickly tell fans of late Scriabin to check out Jolivet's Danses Rituelles for solo piano.

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Monday, 28 August 2017 11:41 (two months ago) Permalink

Enjoying this classical guitar sonata, apparently written in 1989. Second and third movements are especially lovely. Might actually appeal to some of the post-Fahey crowd?: . Something about the last movement made me think a bit of 70s Rush in a weird way.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 2 September 2017 18:43 (two months ago) Permalink

I mean, partly I just really enjoy Carlos's sound and playing. Piece is contemporary return-to-tonality stuff but it's pretty.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 2 September 2017 18:51 (two months ago) Permalink

I'm gonna loudly ring the tuomas frederick b and djp alarm here for Andre Caplet's Le Miroir de Jesus, a new acquisition for me. Almost an hour of ravishing spellbinding choir-with-instrumental-ensemble ritualizing.

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 5 September 2017 23:11 (two months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

A recording of Alberto Posadas's Sombras (Shadows) will be released tomorrow (or today if you're across the pond). I was bowled over by his Liturgia fractal for string quartet so I'm curious to hear how he negotiates the addition of a soprano and a clarinet. Here's an excerpt featuring the incredible Sarah Maria Sun:

As a side note, I'm glad to see Romanian is gaining traction as a language worth setting to 'serious' music. La tentación de las sombras is based on Emil Cioran's Cartea amăgirilor (The Book of Delusions) and a few years back György Kurtág's Colindă-Baladă, for tenor, choir and orchestra, took its verbal and musical cues from Romanian folk songs.

pomenitul, Thursday, 26 October 2017 23:58 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Has that kurtag piece been recorded?

harbinger of failure (Jon not Jon), Friday, 27 October 2017 00:32 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Yep, ECM released it this summer as part of Kurtág's Complete Works for Ensemble and Choir, which is a bit of a misnomer – quite a few of the compositions therein are for solo vocalist and ensemble. It's a great set, though occasionally a little too languid when compared to the old Hungaroton recordings:

pomenitul, Friday, 27 October 2017 00:42 (four weeks ago) Permalink

oh my god, cioran no longer just for black metal then, eh?

bob lefse (rushomancy), Friday, 27 October 2017 02:15 (four weeks ago) Permalink

I've never heard of Posadas before but that piece is really good! I will definitely investigate further.

I bought Unbound by the Jasper String Quartet recently and have been listening a fair bit. Pieces by big-name mostly NYC/NJ-based composers. The Gosfield piece is by far the best but the Lang and Shaw are really enjoyable too.

Was listening to various recordings of Saariaho's NoaNoa today while prepping tomorrow's lecture. It's really a remarkable sensuous piece. Based on recordings, I think I might even like the Macbook versions more than the old IRCAM version.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 27 October 2017 02:25 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Ha, Emma Resmini is 17.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 27 October 2017 02:31 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Yeah, NoaNoa is absolutely amazing, though nowadays it brings to mind, by way of contrast, the tedium of most of Saariaho's postmillenial output.

pomenitul, Friday, 27 October 2017 02:48 (four weeks ago) Permalink

Wow, will read. On the topic of Canadian music, this new release by the Victoria Guitar Trio, consisting entirely of works by contemporary BC composers, is really enjoyable. I'm planning to buy it. The Nobles pieces make good use of the microtonality that is afforded by the use of harmonics. Some nice interplay between percussive techniques and rhythmic pitched material in the Godin. Sharman also uses a lot of harmonics to bring out pleasant melodic material in "Suspended Waltz". "The Nagual's Dream" is a cool thing for guitar trio + a recorded part made from processed guitar samples.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 30 October 2017 15:09 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Thanks for the NYT piece, JNJ, I look forward to reading it!

I'll be sure to check out that album, sund4r. I'm awfully, hopelessly Eurocentric when it comes to so-called 'classical' music and hence consistently struggle with North American composers, barring a few names (Claude Vivier, Aaron Cassidy, Joshua Fineberg, for instance, all of whom have/had close ties to European institutions). Canadian music (and, frankly, culture) remains a blind spot for me despite having spent the better part of my life in this country.

pomenitul, Monday, 30 October 2017 15:26 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Ha, I have a lot of inchoate thoughts about those matters that I should probably sort through before posting them on the Internet. I'll just note that I'm almost the opposite wrt contemporary music. (Obv, everyone is Eurocentric about pre-WW2 art music.)

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 30 October 2017 16:18 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Inchoate though they may be, I'd be curious to read them.

Anyhow, one necessarily reductive way of looking at the divide is that I find contemporary North American art music to be more easy-going, perhaps because it is less awed by past models. I do not share this relative lack of anxiety, alas, and thus prefer the strenuous sublimity of contemporary European art music.

Having written this just now, I can think of innumerably many objections, but I'll let it stand for what it is.

pomenitul, Monday, 30 October 2017 16:48 (three weeks ago) Permalink

For what it's worth, I very much enjoyed Concentric Rings (the James Nobles piece). It favourably reminded me of Per Nørgård's output for guitar, especially his late 1960s/early to mid 1970s 'infinity series' period (echoes of Takemitsu, too, which is always a plus). Temporal Waves strikes me as marginally less successful, perhaps because I'm wary of its NYC arpeggios. Godin's On Poetics is insufferable – the worst kind of faux-theatrical genre-hopping, drenched in superfluous irony. Suspended Waltz is genuinely pretty and September's reminiscences of a detuned harpsichord made me want to acquaint myself further with Sharman's music (I later remembered that two of his piano transcriptions were featured on a CD recital by Ortwin Stürmer, who notably recorded Horațiu Rădulescu's 'Lao Tsu' sonatas). I found The Nagual's Dream to be conceptually promising but ultimately tedious in its execution and Roark's work irritated me only slightly less than Godin's. Still, I'm glad I listened to the whole thing and would love to hear more stuff by Sharman.

pomenitul, Monday, 30 October 2017 20:35 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I agree with you that "Concentric Rings" and the Sharman pieces are the best but I also have a higher tolerance for NYC arpeggios and flighty genre-hopping.

Outside of guitar repertoire, the first contemporary composers I really loved as a youth before knowing much of anything were Cage, Branca, and the minimalists (+ Zappa if he counts). I ended up going to the States for my PhD and, ironically, it seemed like most people in that programme revered European composers and European festivals and institutes. (4aron C4ssidy graduated a year or two before I started. I never knew him.) That world just somehow felt/feels a bit distant and impenetrable and idk if it's somewhere I could ever find a place (UK possibly excepted), but tbh, I really don't know much about it and haven't kept up. It's probably just a matter of being (very ambivalenty) a minor part of one (problematic in its own way) scene and not even really having a read on how things work in continental Europe. Occasionally, I'll check out what a former colleague has been doing since moving to France or Germany.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 November 2017 13:46 (three weeks ago) Permalink

Tbh, I'm thinking now that maybe a lot of what I was exposed to was American composers or players who had moved to Europe or Europeans who had moved to the US more than Europeans from Europe.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 November 2017 13:54 (three weeks ago) Permalink

It's also a matter of background. In my case, I never studied music formally so I haven't been in touch with local institutions that would have otherwise shaped my tastes. I also come from a European country so the desire to explore 'my' history was perhaps greater, if founded on an illusion. Anyhow, one thing that I simultaneously like and dislike about the North American approach is that there appears to be less of a dichotomy between so-called serious art and pop culture (in the broadest sense of the term). I listen to a lot of classical, but it's no substitute for metal, jazz, electronic, folk, pop, ambient, etc., and I feel like this is viewed as an incontrovertible fact on this side of the Atlantic. That being said, I generally find 'crossover' attempts, more prevalent in North America as a result of this ethos, to be rather uninteresting – they merely make me yearn to hear each individual component in isolation. This is hardly an absolute rule, though. It just shows how difficult it is to synthesize wildly divergent strands. For instance, I think of Fausto Romitelli as someone who successfully bridged the gap between Grisey and psych rock but very few names ultimately come to mind.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 1 November 2017 16:25 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I find contemporary North American art music to be more easy-going, perhaps because it is less awed by past models

there appears to be less of a dichotomy between so-called serious art and pop culture (in the broadest sense of the term). I listen to a lot of classical, but it's no substitute for metal, jazz, electronic, folk, pop, ambient, etc., and I feel like this is viewed as an incontrovertible fact on this side of the Atlantic.

Yes, these are my main impressions of the key differences as well. Are there Euro equivalents of e.g. Eric Whitacre or even John Luther Adams or, say, Caroline Shaw? Would someone like Hauschka or Fennesz ever play a 'new music' festival in Germany or Austria? Maybe they would?

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 November 2017 21:56 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I saw the concert listed here today, which included a few premieres. I wasn't familiar with any of the composers beforehand but enjoyed much of it. The Gary Nash piece is listed incorrectly: Sui Generis Bastion is the title; this piece was my favourite. Made me think of Bartok at times; just really good varied solo viola writing with a nice balance of techniques and memorable motifs to hang on to. The Holland pieces were also good, especially Synchrony, which combined recorded speech with instrumental writing (including some inside-the-piano stuff).

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 6 November 2017 03:48 (two weeks ago) Permalink

I've been listening to Sonata for Harp by young-ish Yale composer Hannah Lash a lot after buying it a couple of days ago. I find I get more out of it the more I listen. It's satisfying to hear a contemporary (and musically modern) piece that makes effective use of a classical form like this, without being neo-Romantic schlock. I think of Debussy at some moments and, oddly, even a bit of Chopin during the second movement. (If only neo-Romanticism actually sounded like that more often.) Kind of gets me on the edge of my seat sometimes.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 17 November 2017 02:16 (one week ago) Permalink

Not bad. Still too neo-Romantic for me – some melodic turns of phrase even brought Joseph Kosma to mind – but its unpretentiousness is welcome.

pomenitul, Friday, 17 November 2017 14:35 (one week ago) Permalink

I don't know Kosma that well tbh. (Obv, "Autumn Leaves" is a classic.) Ime, though, in an American context, 'neo-Romanticism' usually refers to a sort of bombastic syrupy orchestral music that has little to do with what I love in Schubert or Chopin. (I don't even necessarily have something against bombast and syrup per se but this style of orchestral writing just doesn't speak to me.)

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 17 November 2017 15:34 (one week ago) Permalink

I love the Romantic era and any contemporary music that successfully captures its spirit is a wonder to behold. You're right, though, too much of it is, to quote Boulez's diss against Shostakovich (which I vehemently disagree with, by the way) a 'second, or even third, pressing of Mahler'.

A thread dedicated to exploring awesome neo-Romantic music would be nice, though we'd have to determine what 'neo-Romanticism' stands for in the first place.

pomenitul, Friday, 17 November 2017 15:49 (one week ago) Permalink

We could probably do that here. I've given my one nomination (idk awesome but satisfying).

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 17 November 2017 17:19 (one week ago) Permalink

On the more traditional end of things, I'm rather fond of Pēteris Vasks's concerto for violin and string orchestra, Distant Light. For a less literal take on the neo-Romantic aesthetic, I'd nominate Jörg Widmann's Messe.

pomenitul, Friday, 17 November 2017 21:28 (one week ago) Permalink

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