Rolling Classical 2018

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NB: Spectropol Records of Bellingham, WA, is having a half-price sale that ends tomorrow: . I just bought Bruce Hamilton's Lanes, the Frets of Yore comp, and the last Marco Oppedisano. Some interesting EA and new chamber music stuff.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 7 January 2018 21:19 (seven months ago) Permalink

Prediction: This will be the year Barbara Hannigan wins the Sonning Prize. I don't know exactly what that means, but I'm fairly confident.

Frederik B, Sunday, 7 January 2018 21:33 (seven months ago) Permalink

To kickstart the year, here is, uh, Helmut Lachenmann's Marche fatale:

(Yes, this is an actual piece by Helmut Lachenmann.)

pomenitul, Monday, 8 January 2018 23:39 (seven months ago) Permalink

haha wow thanks

anatol_merklich, Tuesday, 9 January 2018 09:20 (seven months ago) Permalink

Haha wtf

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Tuesday, 9 January 2018 13:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

He penned a little note (in German) explaining (?) his thought-process:

My German is too limited to fully grasp what he's getting at but he's mostly interested in raising new questions, which is thoroughly in keeping with his persona. Not to mention Lachenmann literally means 'the laughing man'.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 9 January 2018 13:35 (seven months ago) Permalink

hello classical music friends -- if you have a little extra time/goodwill, please bookmark my thread:

help me with my class?

you wouldn't have to do anything more than contribute your existing knowledge :)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 16:33 (six months ago) Permalink


This morning: walking to train, the weather was right on the razor's edge between rain and snow and I watched it change from one to the other and back again while listening to Enescu's Cello Sonata which I just noticed yesterday is completely killer.

Other ecstasies from the past few days:

Norgard - Voyage Into the Golden Screen - could not believe my ears at several points during this.
Pehr Henrik Nordgren - symphony op. 20 - grabbed me by the collar, bold and arresting. Radio recording downloaded from the Symphonyshare google group.
Prokofiev Symphony 2 - A pet piece of mine for a couple of decades now, why are this and his 3rd so undervalued? Big feral modernist engines with unbelievable orchestration. #2 formally modeled upon beethoven's Op. 111 supposedly? Op. 111 has come down with rabies, it seems.
Liszt Symphonic Poems, early 1950s Westminster LP, Dean Dixon conducting the Royal PO - Dixon was the first well-known african-american conductor and he spent most of his career leading german radio orchestras. Very underrecorded. This is my first hearing of any of his work. Right here is one of the best Liszt orchestral albums ever put down. A shame it was a few years too early for stereo or its rep would surely be higher. Very good mono sound though, heard in a transfer which can be downloaded for free from the ReDiscovery Records website.
Beethoven sonatas 5-7 Op. 10 - Alfred Brendel (from his first Philips cycle) - please be careful never to overemphasize late beethoven. Early beethoven is no less unique and rich and slays just as much, albeit more swashbucklingly. Confirming for the milionth time that Brendel owns this trilogy (same for op. 32).

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 17:51 (six months ago) Permalink

Oh, speaking of Nørgård, my choir is doing his Wie Ein Kind, it's pretty amazing. Spotify-link to an album with my choir singing it (though I wasn't in the choir then):
It's the last three tracks.

Frederik B, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 18:35 (six months ago) Permalink

There can never be too much Nørgård. Every single one of his periods is incredible in its own right.

Btw Jon, which of Enescu's cello sonatas are you referring to? The first is Brahmsian and big-boned; the second is less immediate but utterly spellbinding once you've taken it in. Few things move me as much as Enescu's late music.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 20:08 (six months ago) Permalink

Op. 26.

I need to look for the second one ASAP

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 20:26 (six months ago) Permalink

They're both op. 26, heh (an Enescu quirk: he tended to gather compositions of a given type under the same opus number).

Laura Buruiană and Martin Tchiba's Naxos disc pairing the two sonatas is pretty solid, with a major caveat: the recording is uncharacteristically imbalanced. Valentin Răduțiu and Per Rundberg on Hänssler are worth hearing as well.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 20:43 (six months ago) Permalink

Buruiana appears to have also recorded that piece (but not the other sonata) in a mixed recital on Avie, maybe that one is better engineered?

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 21:00 (six months ago) Permalink

The one with Alexandra Silocea? I think it only contains a fragment from an unfinished cello sonata that he worked on prior to op. 26/1.

There's also this live performance of op. 26/2, which I haven't heard yet:

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 21:08 (six months ago) Permalink

On eMusic, I'm also seeing both of the Op. 26 by Alexandre Dmitriev and Alexandre Paley on the french label Saphir.

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Wednesday, 17 January 2018 22:35 (six months ago) Permalink

I don't recall those being any good but it's been a while.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 22:54 (six months ago) Permalink

Fiancée just texted that she just saw Braunstein play the Shostakovich Violin Concerto and it was amazing. Envious.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Thursday, 18 January 2018 01:51 (six months ago) Permalink

I assume it was the first (it's always the first). The second is painfully undersung, perhaps because very few violinists actually pull it off. I love Oistrakh's take on it (goes without saying) but every other recording I've heard falls short. Too bad, as I think I prefer the second to the first, all things considered.

pomenitul, Thursday, 18 January 2018 19:51 (six months ago) Permalink

the second violin concerto and second cello concerto both suffer from neglect and both RULE, imo

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:05 (six months ago) Permalink

Speaking of live video recordings and underperformed 20th century works, I recently stumbled on this amazing version of Wilhelm Stenhammar's second symphony, with Herbert Blomstedt at the helm:

pomenitul, Thursday, 18 January 2018 20:43 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah, I meant Violin Concerto no. 1, which is a monster, sorry.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Thursday, 18 January 2018 21:01 (six months ago) Permalink

xp Ooh, I've seen Blomstedt conduct Stenhammar in that very hall! Second piano concerto though, last year.

Fascinating concert hall, btw -- rather than the seats rising in a steepish staircase toward the back, it felt like most of the audience were sitting below or level with the stage. Also, gf & me were impressed with the "resolution", or clarity of strands in the music. I don't know to what degree these two are connected.

anatol_merklich, Thursday, 18 January 2018 23:42 (six months ago) Permalink

Right, there it is

anatol_merklich, Thursday, 18 January 2018 23:45 (six months ago) Permalink

Lucky you! I'll check it out in a bit. I'm always happy to hear more Stenhammar.

pomenitul, Friday, 19 January 2018 00:43 (six months ago) Permalink

I’ve never listened to Stenhammar! Probably due to some comment I read in some record guide during the first year I was getting into classical music

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Friday, 19 January 2018 00:52 (six months ago) Permalink

If you're curious, I'd say that video I posted today happens to make for a great introduction. His string quartets are also quite wonderful, especially nos. 4-6 as performed by the aptly named Stenhammar Quartet.

pomenitul, Friday, 19 January 2018 01:08 (six months ago) Permalink

Wow, I never listened to Shostakovich's second violin concerto before tbh. That video is pretty striking. I'll be listening more.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 19 January 2018 02:56 (six months ago) Permalink

don't neglect cello cto 2 as well!

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Friday, 19 January 2018 16:41 (six months ago) Permalink

And the violin sonata! And the viola sonata! And the string quartets nos. 12-15! And the 14th and 15th symphonies! And the Seven Romances on Poems by Alexander Blok! And the Michelangelo Suite! And the Six Poems by Maria Tsvetaeva! Late Shostakovich is best Shostakovich, imho.

pomenitul, Friday, 19 January 2018 16:46 (six months ago) Permalink

absolutely otm

the 14th symphony is my favorite thing he ever did

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Friday, 19 January 2018 16:47 (six months ago) Permalink

you missed Execution of Stepan Razin on that list btw!

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Friday, 19 January 2018 16:47 (six months ago) Permalink

Yep, that's a good one too.

pomenitul, Friday, 19 January 2018 19:39 (six months ago) Permalink

And I completely agree with you regarding the 14th symphony – it's the purest expression of his vision. And there have been so many tremendous recordings of it in recent years: Currentzis, Petrenko, even Kremer.

pomenitul, Friday, 19 January 2018 19:45 (six months ago) Permalink

Just listened to the vimeo of Stenhammar's second piano concerto that anatol_merklich posted upthread. Wonderful stuff, as expected. I really wish Blomstedt would give us studio recordings of Stenhammar's complete works for orchestra (concertos included), as he has a much better grasp of this idiom than most other conductors I've heard, Stig Westerberg excepted.

As a side note, it's odd how sensitive I am to the performance variable when it comes to pre-WWII composers (in the broadest possible sense). For instance, Soviet-era takes on Shostakovich are almost systematically more convincing than what came after: you can feel the nerve-wracked wiriness behind the first Borodin Quartet's partial set (1-13), whereas the Emerson Quartet just sounds phony. Likewise, certain performances of Sibelius's symphonies do absolutely nothing for me, even as Vänskä's cycle with the Lahti Symphony Orchestra is one of my favourites of all.

By contrast, audibly different though they may be, I love most versions of Le marteau sans maître I've listened to, and I can't think of a single recording of Ligeti's violin concerto that I dislike, even though some strike me as more persuasive than others. Of course, there are also composers such as Richard Barrett who include extended improvisations in their scores, which means that no two performances are ever quite the same, but even there, due to the music's endlessly proliferating, often disorienting strata, it can be hard to tell the improvised sections apart from the composed ones, which I assume is part of the point.

Maybe there is a correlation between the scarcity of performances and the availability of 'authoritative' recordings? Newer music doesn't remain long (if at all) in the limelight, so a given composition will often only be associated with a particular musician or ensemble forevermore. It goes without saying that there are far fewer recorded performances of Saariaho's Près than of Bach's cello suites, in part because we assume that Anssi Karttunen, the cellist who premiered Près (as well as the closely related concerto Amers) 'perfected' (the French verb parachever is closer to what I'm getting at here) the work, since Saariaho explicitly dedicated it to him. Perhaps if we could hear the original Schuppanzigh Quartet's interpretations of late Beethoven, there would be (slightly) fewer sets available today (only 'slightly', though, because the more time goes by, the less performers feel compelled to respect the composer's supposed wishes). That said, LPs of Shostakovich's string quartets actually make for a good counter-example here, though I assume a relative dearth of availability in the West up until the 1990s, as well as lo-fi engineering, are partly to blame.

A final hypothesis: a relative increase in compositional complexity may also have diminished performers' agency. Merely 'getting the notes right' is sometimes a feat in and of itself, whereas in a musical paradigm intent on expressivity, that worships virtuoso figures such as Liszt, Paganini, Alkan, etc., but whose repertoire is comparatively 'simpler' (mark the scare quotes), there's more leeway to compress or distend the phrasing whichever way one deems fit, rubato-style.

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:40 (six months ago) Permalink

hmmmm. i was thinking something somewhat similar just this week regarding "authoritative" recordings.

i am not sure the presence of an "authoritative" recording is a factor of the number of recordings, myself. my thoughts were regarding the rite of spring. i'd argue that the "authoritative" recording there was bernstein's 1958 recording, which took place 45 years after its premiere. since then, pretty much all recordings have followed that one, reducing the latitude for interpretation. before bernstein's, one hears the rite performed in all sorts of ways, many of which would be thought of as "wrong" today

so i would argue, really, that the absence of an "authoritative" recording in a difficult work gives one _more_ latitude for interpretation, insofar as one person's "interpretation" is another person's "fuckup". i find that the most difficult works tend to sound far more different between versions, at least in part for precisely this reason. (how many different ways has "scarbo" been played?)

Arnold Schoenberg Steals (rushomancy), Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:51 (six months ago) Permalink

To be fair, I doubt Bernstein's Rite of Spring was ever viewed as authoritative in Russia. Authoritativeness varies quite a bit from place to place.

As for 'Scarbo', it's a fiendishly difficult piece within that paradigm, sure, but is it harder to play than, say, Carter's Night Fantasies or Michael Finnissy's solo piano pieces? It doesn't sound that way to me, a layman, so I'd be curious to hear a pianist's thoughts on this.

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 15:57 (six months ago) Permalink

By contrast, audibly different though they may be, I love most versions of Le marteau sans maître I've listened to,

Boulez was loosening up compared to his earlier work but surely this piece is still more strictly notated than virtually any pre-war music?

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:31 (six months ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's definitely a major factor.

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:33 (six months ago) Permalink

oh lord, i'm not a pianist but i wasn't ever intending to make a direct comparison between "gaspard de la nuit" and "english country-tunes"! i mean there's a lot of other stuff going on there that makes a direct comparison of those scores in terms of "technical difficulty", i would argue, counterproductive. these are works which were created, and exist, in entirely different sociocultural contexts!

is stravinsky in general thought of highly in russia? i have a wonderful russian recording of "les noces" but stravinsky doesn't really seem to have been celebrated in russia as a "russian".

Arnold Schoenberg Steals (rushomancy), Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:37 (six months ago) Permalink

My bad, Bernstein apparently played a major role in the Rite's Russian reception:

The Rite of Spring had a very different trajectory in Russia than it did in Western Europe. Though conceived in St. Petersburg by a trio of Russians - choreographed by Vaslav Nijinsky, with a libretto and set design by Nicholas Roerich, and music by Stravinsky - the famous original ballet was never performed in Russia itself. Serge Koussevitsky gave performances of the concert work in 1914 in St. Petersburg, and afterwards the ballet had a spotty Russian history. Stravinsky never found the favor in Soviet Russia that Prokofiev or Shostakovich did. When Leonard Bernstein led the New York Philharmonic in The Rite on a tour to Moscow in 1959, it was the first time the work had been performed in the city in thirty years.

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:44 (six months ago) Permalink

My view was informed by Gergiev's – a reassessment more than anything:

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:46 (six months ago) Permalink

clearly stravinsky was russian - outside of russia one can hardly help but think of him in this way - but he was never soviet, and whatever russia is under putin, he wasn't that either. at some point the russians may "rediscover" him as one of their own... but he currently has no apparent value as a cultural symbol to the russian oligarchs.

Arnold Schoenberg Steals (rushomancy), Saturday, 20 January 2018 17:00 (six months ago) Permalink

For curiosity's sake, I checked out the Bolshoi Theatre's upcoming shows. Par for the course:

I love how La Traviata, Manon Lescaut, Billy Budd and The Taming of the Shrew, among others, are billed as for 'adults only'.

The Mariinsky Theatre is considerably more adventurous and incidentally features The Rite of Spring (along with a lecture) and Petrushka:

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 17:11 (six months ago) Permalink

Just bought tickets to see Adès conduct the Ligeti violin concerto (as well as Beethoven 8, an Adès piece, and a Stravinsky piece) this weekend.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Wednesday, 24 January 2018 03:25 (six months ago) Permalink

Good program, though I have little experience with Adès as a conductor beyond his own music, which strikes me as relatively hit-or-miss.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 24 January 2018 22:05 (six months ago) Permalink

It was spectacular to see the violin concerto live, with those microtones ringing in Boston's Symphony Hall. Hadelich's playing was beautiful, really precise and clean compared to the Astrand recording I'm familiar with. The third and fourth movements were especially intense and the aria movement was poignant. I admit to drifting a little in the fifth, not sure if it was just because I'd already been through the rest or because Astrand's approach may have worked better for me with that one; still, one of the best live music experiences.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 28 January 2018 16:37 (six months ago) Permalink

Also, that was my first time at the BSO and the first time I've actually experienced a classical audience that seems as posh as the stereotype. Different from what I'm used to and a bit weird. A surprising number of people were talking and sometimes even laughing at moments during the Ligeti.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 28 January 2018 16:40 (six months ago) Permalink

Also, I've had something playing in my head that I kept trying to place for the last couple of days. I finally realized maybe five minutes ago that it's the opening of Bartok's 4th string quartet.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Sunday, 28 January 2018 16:42 (six months ago) Permalink

the fourth has some great earworms, maybe my favorite of his quartets

Arnold Schoenberg Steals (rushomancy), Sunday, 28 January 2018 17:40 (six months ago) Permalink

Wtg Grammy winner Hannigan! I should remember to purchase Crazy Girl Crazy. I haven't listened to the Higdon viola concerto yet, although I did enjoy "All Things Must Pass".

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Monday, 29 January 2018 18:20 (six months ago) Permalink

I love Abrahamsen, though as a home listener I am a wee bit confused by these endlessly proliferating recordings of his first string quartet. What's wrong with its follow-ups?

pomenitul, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 19:34 (six months ago) Permalink

They're playing his forth string quartet as well. Should I go see it?

Frederik B, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 19:59 (six months ago) Permalink

I'd say yes, but I'm rather fond of his music, as well as a sucker for string quartets in general.

You can check out the Ardittis' recording on Spotify:

For a not-as-enthusiastic (and, to me, amusing) take on it:

Breaking up the English contingent was Hans Abrahamsen, and there was a clear sense of expectation for the first UK performance of his String Quartet No. 4, completed in 2012 having been commissioned over twenty years ago. One can only imagine how that time was spent, as the result is 21 of the most wretched minutes i’ve ever spent in a concert hall. In many ways, it presents a more extreme version of Archbold’s Nine memos, only in Abrahamsen’s quartet just four behaviours are explored: high harmonic counterpoint, alternating between solo and tutti passages; the same interspersed with col legno passagework and episodes redolent of viol music; plodding pizzicato counterpoint, again with solo and tutti contrasts; and delicate twirling material that Abrahamsen likens to “the ‘babbling’ of a child”. All four movements cling to their mannerisms as though nailed to the floor, exhausting all interest in moments but continuing relentlessly for minutes on end. It’s bad enough that such dull, lazy music as this should be written in the first place, but then to claim—somewhat triumphantly—to have spent two decades working on it is, frankly, to piss all over your chips.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 30 January 2018 20:06 (six months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

Just listening to Alexander Melnikov's Four Pianos, Four Pieces, namely Schubert's Wanderer-Fantasie, Chopin's Etudes, Liszt's Réminiscences de 'Don Juan', and Stravinsky's Three Pieces from 'Petrushka'. A nifty concept, played as well as you'd expect by a Sviatoslav Richter pupil. I can't wait for him to start recording Beethoven's sonatas and concertos.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 13 February 2018 20:47 (six months ago) Permalink

I don’t have him in any solo recordings but in several chamber music recordings with Isabelle Faust et al where he is excellent

Winter. Dickens. Yes. (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 13 February 2018 23:13 (six months ago) Permalink

On an unrelated note, fans of Saariaho's pre-2000 output should check out this performance of Helena Tulve's Extinction des choses vues:

pomenitul, Wednesday, 14 February 2018 00:30 (six months ago) Permalink

melnikov's shostakovich preludes/fugues recording is great!

ziggy the ginhead (rushomancy), Wednesday, 14 February 2018 02:58 (six months ago) Permalink

Will look into all of this. Tulve sounds really good so far. The best thing I've been listening to recently is probably Kate Soper's Nadja for soprano and string quartet from a year ago. It gets pretty intense and satisfying. Some great noisy string bits:

John Gordon Armstrong's Space Within for Julian Bertino on 10-string guitar (both guys I know tbf):

Nicholas Omiccioli's Field Well for chamber winds is a fairly open composition, I gather, with a lot of extended techniques. Works in a loose sound mass sort of way:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Thursday, 15 February 2018 15:31 (six months ago) Permalink

Thanks, Sund4r, I'll check them out in a bit.

pomenitul, Thursday, 15 February 2018 15:35 (six months ago) Permalink

Of the three, my preference goes to Omiccioli. I like that he filed the piece under 'ambient' on Soundcloud - it's a type of crossover I'm invariably happy to hear. I enjoyed Armstrong's piece as well, and would love to hear a higher quality recording of it (was this sub-128 kbps?). Soper elicited mixed feelings: I'm mostly on board with her string writing (she should write a purely instrumental string quartet) but the vocal lines sounded kind of awkward to my ears, a little too hesitant for comfort (nor did that appear to be the desired effect). The Breton setting struck me as marginally more successful on that front, though for admittedly personal reasons the irruption of speaking voices reciting parts of the English translation of Nadja in a casual North American accent didn't move me or even strike me as particularly thought-provoking, for that matter. Interesting stuff nonetheless.

pomenitul, Friday, 16 February 2018 00:59 (five months ago) Permalink

would love to hear a higher quality recording of it

Yeah, it's definitely not a top-notch recording, just a document of that performance. I think it's very possible that there may be better-quality recordings to come.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 16 February 2018 02:08 (five months ago) Permalink

Yep, the Tulve piece is pretty much what I've been looking for. It must be magnificent in the concert hall! What's that one dude blowing into? Some sort of rubber tubing??

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 16 February 2018 03:15 (five months ago) Permalink

Btw, Armstrong's Music for Solo Guitar, from last year, is very good. I've been listening to it all the time.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Wednesday, 21 February 2018 13:17 (five months ago) Permalink

RIP Klaus K. Hübler:

pomenitul, Monday, 5 March 2018 15:38 (five months ago) Permalink

Listening to Donnacha Dennehy for St. Patrick's Day:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 17 March 2018 20:00 (four months ago) Permalink

Thanks for the link. I’m familiar with the name but have yet to hear his music.

pomenitul, Sunday, 18 March 2018 15:09 (four months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

FINALLY tracked down the Rostropovich/Ozawa/Boston recording of the 2nd Shostakovich cello concerto. Was not disappointed in the slightest. Fuckin' A. Is there anything better in all of music than the last minute of the finale?

Other pieces obsessing over last coupla weeks:

Schumann Dichterliebe (i've been a fiend for his solo piano corpus for over twenty years and only now do i finally realize how great the song sets that come right after the solo piano phase really are!)

Berlioz Faust (now I know why I never clicked with this piece: the Colin Davis/Philips version is fucking boring, that's why. Hello Paul Paray live bootleg and JE Gardiner proms 2017 broadcast)

Ohana - just keeps getting better the more I hear of him. Definitely one of my top 10 20th c composers by now.

Shostakovich Symphony 10 - Svetlanov mid 1960s on Melodiya. Monstrously overwhelming version. Fantastic sound for russia at that time.

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 12 April 2018 19:14 (four months ago) Permalink

Ohana hasn't quite clicked for me yet, but I'm sure it'll happen someday. I need to give those Erato recordings another shot.

pomenitul, Thursday, 12 April 2018 21:39 (four months ago) Permalink

I didn’t know about those until quite recently. I had been working my way through the series on the Timpani label (which I think originally came out on a different label). I’d say my favorite piece atm is Office des Oracles.

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 12 April 2018 22:45 (four months ago) Permalink

If memory serves, the Timpani series also features some of his very last works, so it's probably a better way to get acquainted with his different periods than the Erato recordings. Both leave out his etudes for piano, which are characteristically unusual in that the final two include a part for percussion. I have a version with Jean-Efflam Bavouzet (one of my favourite Debussyans) lying somewhere and should dig it up. There's also his string quartets, which I haven't explored at all. The Quatuor Psophos, whose Debussy/Ravel/Dutilleux disk impressed me last year, recorded the Ohana set back in 2004 and I'm sure they make for fine guides throughout.

Too bad I'm still furiously struggling to catch up with the (mostly non-classical) stuff I missed out on last year… I'll get there eventually.

pomenitul, Thursday, 12 April 2018 23:20 (four months ago) Permalink

I have the Etudes by Symeonidas (sp) - would like to hear bavouzet. I had better buy it from iTunes before you can’t buy things from iTunes anymore.

when worlds collide I'll see you again (Jon not Jon), Friday, 13 April 2018 02:35 (four months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

With all the harp talk going on now, I thought I'd note that I've really been enjoying this new quasi-minimalist harp quartet by John Gordon Armstrong. It's on the accessible, energetic end but I don't think it's fluffy at all, really:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Tuesday, 22 May 2018 17:44 (two months ago) Permalink

Some highlights from the MusCan contemporary music concert on Thursday night:
Edgar Sulski - Polaris-Nocturne:
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No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 26 May 2018 16:06 (two months ago) Permalink

Illkim Tongur - Old Shaman:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 26 May 2018 16:11 (two months ago) Permalink

Gabriel Dharmoo - the fog in our poise:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 26 May 2018 16:12 (two months ago) Permalink

Fantastic new Nick Omiccioli piece called "The Haunted Sea" for amplified soprano and string quartet. Nice evocation of wind and water sounds with extended vocal and string timbres:

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Tuesday, 29 May 2018 17:44 (two months ago) Permalink

"Haunted Seas", sorry

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Tuesday, 29 May 2018 17:50 (two months ago) Permalink

Thanks for these, Sund4r. I've too little time to properly listen to them at the moment but they haven't gone unnoticed!

pomenitul, Tuesday, 29 May 2018 18:42 (two months ago) Permalink

Luis Aracama's take on Mompou's Música callada is sounding quite perfect at the moment. I'm liking it even more than Herbert Henck's, partly because it hasn't been filtered through Manfred Eicher's proverbial reverb (which I usually love btw).

pomenitul, Tuesday, 5 June 2018 22:07 (two months ago) Permalink

I’ve never heard any performance but henck’s, and it’s been many years

I should revisit

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 5 June 2018 23:46 (two months ago) Permalink

Finally got around to those pieces Sund4r posted upthread. As expected, I really liked Omiccioli's Haunted Seas – based on this and Field Well, I'd love to hear a monograph of his work. Armstrong's Burst! was pleasant, but I doubt I'll return to it any time soon. I didn't much care for any of the MusCan pieces, unfortunately, except perhaps, and only in parts, for the Suski and Dharmoo.

pomenitul, Monday, 11 June 2018 22:26 (two months ago) Permalink

RIP Gennady Rozhdestvensky:

His recording of Gubaidulina's sole Symphony is still one of my favourite things ever.

pomenitul, Sunday, 17 June 2018 16:54 (one month ago) Permalink

Insanely wide repertoire.

There’s a download release via iTunes emusic etc from melodiya, in their newer remasters program, of rozhdy leading all the Prokofiev ballets. Wonderful performances of course, and though Romeo and Cinderella are earlier recordings in rough sound quality, all the obscurer ballets now sound just gorgeous compared to older melodiya versions - this digital box set is cheap and invaluable.

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Monday, 18 June 2018 14:36 (one month ago) Permalink

one month passes...

Saw that on the news group yesterday definitely gonna download it

I have some classical thoughts from my last couple weeks listening but I’m too frayed to type them rn

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 19 July 2018 22:56 (three weeks ago) Permalink

I wanted to love the pieces because the reviewer came off as a dick but they feel pretty underwritten and forgettable tbh. "Valencia" from last year's Jasper String Quartet album was better. I sometimes wonder if she's actually fairly limited as a composer and just managed to hit the jackpot when she wrote Partita for Eight Voices.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 20 July 2018 15:01 (three weeks ago) Permalink

This year's Chamberfest looks a little less exciting than usual but I'm very excited about two concerts: Angela Hewitt playing all of WTC, Bk 1, and a performance of Le marteau sans maitre, neither of which I have seen performed live in their entirety before.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Thursday, 26 July 2018 16:16 (two weeks ago) Permalink

LMsM seems like it would be super fun to see live
Speaking of festivals, Barbara Hannigan is curating next year’s Ojai festival. She’s going to sing Grisey’s Four Songs for Crossing the Threshold (which I just heard for the first time last week and are INCREDIBLE) and Schoenberg’s Op. 10 quartet plus other stuff
I gotta go I think

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 26 July 2018 22:08 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Sund4r siren!!!

During the 2019 Festival, Barbara Hannigan will conduct works by Aaron Copland, Arnold Schoenberg, Igor Stravinsky, and Claude Vivier.

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 26 July 2018 22:13 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Sounds v cool but this is in California?

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Friday, 27 July 2018 15:46 (two weeks ago) Permalink


cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Friday, 27 July 2018 18:54 (two weeks ago) Permalink

Speaking of Vivier, there's a p decent recording of his "Pour guitare" by Steve Cowan, one of the dudes I'm writing for rn, on this album he made of contemporary Canadian guitar music: . Some of the other pieces are p nice too, esp Jason Nobles's "Shadow Prism", which is mostly in harmonics in an alternate tuning. All the pieces are available on Youtube here: .

Hewitt's performance of WTC1 was really magical. Followed the whole thing with the scores. The hometown audience sang "Happy Birthday" to her beforehand! Some good stuff at the New Music Now concerts too. Only four movements from Le marteau were performed but they were excellent. The musicians really connected and brought out the delicate timbres and angular rhythms. First time it's been played in Canada since 1991 apparently! The new Scott Good piece also v good.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 August 2018 14:53 (six days ago) Permalink

Wish I could have been in town for Hewitt.
Is there anything coming up in Ottawa that you're looking at attending? I was just looking at the September Beethoven concerts at the NAC, trying to decide what I want to see.

jmm, Thursday, 9 August 2018 15:03 (six days ago) Permalink

I wound up getting tickets to the last four nights, symphonies 4 to 9. Very excited. I've never been to a symphony.

jmm, Friday, 10 August 2018 16:59 (five days ago) Permalink

Who’s conducting?

cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Friday, 10 August 2018 22:13 (five days ago) Permalink

Know him?

jmm, Saturday, 11 August 2018 00:53 (four days ago) Permalink

Hey jmm, I haven't looked at the NAC listings yet. I'd def be interested in some of the Beethoven symphonies but I'm mot sure what September will be like yet. Hopefully, I'll be working a lot of evenings.

No purposes. Sounds. (Sund4r), Saturday, 11 August 2018 14:01 (four days ago) Permalink

Never heard of Alexander Shelley but I'm excited for you, jmm! Going to see/hear a symphony always feel like an event, and Beethoven never gets old in my book.

pomenitul, Saturday, 11 August 2018 14:21 (four days ago) Permalink


cheese is the teacher, ham is the preacher (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 11 August 2018 21:38 (four days ago) Permalink

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