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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

haha wow thanks

anatol_merklich, Tuesday, 9 January 2018 09:20 (one year ago) Permalink

Haha wtf

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

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

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 January 2018 22:54 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

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

Right, there it is

anatol_merklich, Thursday, 18 January 2018 23:45 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

don't neglect cello cto 2 as well!

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

you missed Execution of Stepan Razin on that list btw!

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

Yep, that's a good one too.

pomenitul, Friday, 19 January 2018 19:39 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

Yeah, that's definitely a major factor.

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:33 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

pomenitul, Saturday, 20 January 2018 16:46 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year 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 (one year ago) Permalink

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

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

Ross to Rutherford-Johnson: 'but AMERICAAA' (already a leitmotiv in The Rest Is Noise). Your pop culture took over the world long ago, give it a rest now.

pomenitul, Monday, 20 August 2018 20:51 (seven months ago) Permalink

The plan was dropped, at least in part because of this atonal protest concert that drew 500:

My FB comment when the plan was first announced, anticipating a prospective outcome: "The experiment was not entirely successful, with local drug users describing Kontakte as 'extra trippy' and Le Marteau as 'intense on mescaline'."

The inexorable rise of identity condiments (Sund4r), Friday, 31 August 2018 16:50 (six months ago) Permalink

Listening to Hahn's disc of Mendelssohn's and Shostakovich's violin concerti over and over in the van these days.

The inexorable rise of identity condiments (Sund4r), Saturday, 1 September 2018 20:07 (six months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

I wasn't overly keen on Linda Catlin Smith's previous releases, but Wanderer is definitely doing it for me. Bits of it remind me of Mark Hollis's S/T shorn of the man's voice. I should give Dirt Road and Drifter another go, I probably wasn't paying enough attention.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 September 2018 12:43 (six months ago) Permalink

My crush Víkingur Ólafsson has a Bach piano solo album out. Turns out Bach is great!

faculty w1fe (silby), Monday, 24 September 2018 15:18 (six months ago) Permalink

I saw a wonderful performance of Beethoven's Ninth this weekend. The festival was great, though I'm sad to have missed all of the string quartets.

jmm, Monday, 24 September 2018 15:25 (six months ago) Permalink

Missed it all.:( I'll probably start going to more concerts again when I get more work hours.

The nexus of the crisis (Sund4r), Monday, 24 September 2018 16:26 (six months ago) Permalink

Kukuruz Quartet: Julius Eastman - Piano Interpretations


this is blowing me away rn, awesome.

calzino, Wednesday, 26 September 2018 09:21 (five months ago) Permalink

two weeks pass...

I've often wondered why some performers approach fin de siècle French chamber music in a deliberately cloying, saccharine way, minimising its modernity as much as possible (actually, I think I know why). Debussy and Ravel generally survive such opulence, but I can't say the same about Fauré, especially his later, more harmonically prickly pieces. Few things are as refreshing, then, as hearing Pierre Fouchenneret, Raphaël Merlin and Simon Zaoui's takes on Fauré's works for strings and piano (quartets and quintets notwithstanding). They remind us that, despite appearances to the contrary, this isn't Parisian salon music, except, perhaps, as painted by the Nabis (Pierre Vuillard, Edouard Bonnard, Maurice Denis). I haven't listened to many new classical releases this year, but I'm absolutely loving this one (titled Horizons), which also features a pitch-perfect performance, by David Lefort, of the brief song cycle L'Horizon chimérique.

I've also been listening to Mihai Ritivoiu's first recorded recital, showcasing works for piano by Enescu (who was Fauré's pupil), Franck and Liszt. The album's title is Transcendence, and I daresay he gets there without resorting to tired tricks such as slowing the tempo down to a crawl. Enescu's first sonata is the highlight as far as I'm concerned, and I hope Ritivoiu will record the rest of his output for solo piano, as well.

Speaking of Romanian composers, NEOS just put out an Hommage à Horațiu Rădulescu, gathering all of his works for piano (including the concerto) in performances by Ortwin Stürmer, to whom Rădulescu dedicated several scores, including the 'Lao Tzu' sonatas, which contain metaphysically bumbling titles such as 'settle your dust, this is the primal identity' or 'like a well… older than God'. Most of this material was already available elsewhere, but it's nice to have the sixth sonata on disc, as well as a few odds and ends, all of which are quite fascinating due to the collision between the piano's limited microtonal range (at least when played conventionally) and Rădulescu's spectralist aspirations, which tend to imply the use of string instruments. Somewhat surprisingly, the concerto reins in the strings somewhat so as to remain in 'tune' with the piano. It's definitely one of his most conventional efforts – a tribute to Brahms, as it were. As a side note, I really hope Mode will be able to continue its piano sonatas and string quartets cycle with Stephen Clarke and the JACK Quartet. That first disc was incredible.

I haven't listened to much living contemporary music, however, aside from the aforementioned Wanderer by Linda Catlin Smith and Bent Sørensen's meltingly beautiful Pantomime; Rosenbad, the second and third parts of his Schumann-esque Papillons trilogy (the first instalment, Mignon, came out in 2016). There is still time to catch up, I suppose, and I'll no doubt switch back to an almost exclusively classical diet once I get bored with the rest anyway (I go through cycles).

pomenitul, Saturday, 13 October 2018 09:49 (five months ago) Permalink

Wanderer is amazing, need to get some more L C Smith in my life.

calzino, Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:19 (five months ago) Permalink

She actually did a concert in the cultural dead-zone that is my neck of the woods last year, but tbf our contemporary music has got q

calzino, Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:34 (five months ago) Permalink

keyboard fail! quite a big rep in recent years.

calzino, Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:34 (five months ago) Permalink

the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival that is.

calzino, Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:35 (five months ago) Permalink

The HCMF sounds amazing indeed. I should like to check it out now that I live, well, less than 300km away, but I doubt I could afford to spend ten days there, which is the amount of time I'd need to see both musikFabrik and the Arditti Quartet. I'm also an idiot for not having a driver's licence.

pomenitul, Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:45 (five months ago) Permalink

(On an unrelated note, it occurs to me that 'driver's licence' is a Canadian shibboleth: neither 'driving licence' nor a 'driver's license'.)

pomenitul, Saturday, 13 October 2018 10:49 (five months ago) Permalink

I've been a Canadian composer or composition student for 20 years and I never knew until now that Linda Smith's middle name is not "Caitlin".

The nexus of the crisis (Sund4r), Saturday, 13 October 2018 14:31 (five months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

György Kurtág's opera adaptation of Samuel Beckett's Endgame is currently playing at La Scala, in Milan. I didn't think he'd ever finish it, to be honest, especially since he was apparently too ill (he's 92) to attend the premiere. Anyhow, it has effectively become his largest work – perhaps an unexpected way to cap a career almost entirely dedicated to wisps and fragments.

Someone posted a radio recording to YouTube:

pomenitul, Monday, 19 November 2018 14:12 (four months ago) Permalink

holy crap a kurtag opera?

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Monday, 19 November 2018 17:50 (four months ago) Permalink

My fiancée has given it a thumbs-up half an hour in.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Monday, 19 November 2018 18:03 (four months ago) Permalink

I think it's the lyricism.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Monday, 19 November 2018 18:05 (four months ago) Permalink

That Beckett should have exerted such a pervasive influence on contemporary notated music is testimony to his understanding of literature's inherent musicality. Kurtág's works often spring from linguistic elements even as he gives voice to the difficulty of turning speech into song, so it's a natural pairing that rests on a similar conception of lyricism as a necessary and salutary object of desire that punishes the speaker/singer by placing him/her under duress. Kurtág has had considerable time to practice before Fin de partie, incidentally: pas à pas… nulle part and Samuel Beckett: What Is the Word, from the 1990s, are both incredible settings in their own right.

pomenitul, Monday, 19 November 2018 18:33 (four months ago) Permalink

three weeks pass...

Reposting from EOY lists thread:

Listening to the Frederic Hand album from the Textura list and this is definitely up my alley. I have to say, though, that I'm a little intrigued by Textura's love of Hand. They listed him in 2016 too. I never see other classical guitar albums on their EOY lists. I think e.g. John Gordon Armstrong's album from last year and Steve Cowan's from 2016 were really good and more envelope-pushing. William Beauvais had a decent album in 2016 in an accessible style not that far removed from Hand's.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Friday, 14 December 2018 16:12 (three months ago) Permalink

which is to say, I think, are there any good eoy classical lists? I'd be happy to wait until the year is actually over but everyone seems to be publishing them now. I'm especially interested in recs of more 'difficult' compositional music (atonal, complex, spectral, ...), just because it's harder to find as much on it. I saw a lot of good concerts this year and ofc that's the primary medium for the tradition but it's always a good thing to have recordings to listen to on a day-to-day basis.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Friday, 14 December 2018 16:16 (three months ago) Permalink

I've mostly put classical music on the back burner this year, so I can't help you as much as I would like. I haven't looked for classical EOY lists either, partly because I'm already burnt-out on non-classical ones… That said, here's some of the stuff I enjoyed among this year's releases (late 20th/early 21st century only):

Alexander Knaifel - Lukomoriye
Anna S. Þorvaldsdóttir - Aequa
Bent Sørensen - Rosenbad; Pantomime
Brian Ferneyhough - La terre est un homme
Gérard Pesson - Blanc mérité
Heinz Holliger - Choral Utopia
Horațiu Rădulescu - Complete Piano Works
Jörg Widmann - Viola Concerto
Julian Anderson - The Comedy of Change; Heaven Is Shy of Earth
Linda Catlin Smith - Wanderer
Octavian Nemescu - Apokatastasis
Ondřej Adámek - Sinuous Voices
Stefano Gervasoni - Pas perdu
Toivo Tulev - Magnificat

It's not much, but it's a start. I definitely plan on checking out 5against4's list when it comes out.

pomenitul, Friday, 14 December 2018 18:05 (three months ago) Permalink

OK, wow, I haven't listened to any of those, except the online excerpts from LCS. Thanks! New album from Ferneyhough!

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Friday, 14 December 2018 18:46 (three months ago) Permalink

i'm not a real serious classical head but here are the 2018 releases in my library tagged classical:

alexander melnikov - four pianos, four pieces
charlie looker - simple answers
ensemble orchestral intercontemporain - adamek: sinuous voices
gyorgy kurtag - fin de partie
ipek gorgun - ecce homo
john bence - kill
linda catlin smith - wanderer
tanya ekanayaka - 12 piano prisms

also, sorry for not appropriately crediting, but i copied and pasted this list of works from another thread earlier this week and they're on my "to listen" list:

Anna S. Þorvaldsdóttir - Aequa
Cassandra Miller - Just So: String Quartets
Eva-Maria Houben - Breath for Organ
Laura Schwendinger - Quartets
Linda Catlin Smith - Wanderer
Sarah Nemtsov - Amplified Imagination
Séverine Ballon - Inconnaissance
Suzanne Farrin - La dolce morte

errang (rushomancy), Saturday, 15 December 2018 00:49 (three months ago) Permalink

I didn't know Fin de Partie had been recorded!

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Saturday, 15 December 2018 00:56 (three months ago) Permalink

I've been working through the Ferneyhough album one piece at a time via Naxos Music Library since Friday. On "Liber Scintillarum" now (first piece on the album but the last one I'm listening to). I'm really loving this stuff. Tbh, I never dug too deeply into the guy's work before, although he was a hero to some in my grad programme and I've seen some performances over the years. I did like "Cassandra's Dream Song" a lot. I've never actually listened to any of these pieces before. Even though I don't fully understand them, even with the liner notes, there's just so much going on and such visceral richness and detail of sound that they grab me and make me want to investigate further. I expect I'll be able to keep getting more out of these pieces with more and more listens.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Sunday, 16 December 2018 16:21 (three months ago) Permalink

William Beauvais had a decent album in 2016 in an accessible style not that far removed from Hand's.

After listening to both of them the other day, I feel p comfortable ranking the Beauvais higher tbh.

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Sunday, 16 December 2018 16:21 (three months ago) Permalink

sorry for not appropriately crediting

That was me, in response to the relative dearth of women above 35 in the EOY lists. All of those albums are very much worth hearing, so I'm glad you're looking into them!

pomenitul, Monday, 17 December 2018 09:47 (three months ago) Permalink

As for Fin de partie, I think rush was referring to the radio recording that's been making the rounds (the YT link I put up a month ago is no longer available, though).

pomenitul, Monday, 17 December 2018 09:48 (three months ago) Permalink

And I'm happy to hear you're enjoying the Ferneyhough, Sund4r. I found his music forbidding the first few times I tried listening to it 15 years ago (I think it was that Montaigne disc with his string quartets nos. 1-3 performed by the Ardittis). For whatever reason, I opened up to it once I realized that several of my favourite living composers (including Kaija Saariaho, Chaya Czernowin and Richard Barrett) studied under him. It also requires a bit of a leap of faith at times, more so than with other 'difficult' composers, since the overwhelming complexity on display is a deliberate challenge to our narrative/structural expectations. I'm also fascinated with the notion of hypernotation as conducive to performative freedom (you can't possibly follow every single instruction to the letter, so you have to 'transcend' them, in an almost Lisztian sense, by actively looking for a workaround).

pomenitul, Monday, 17 December 2018 10:01 (three months ago) Permalink

Oh and since I don't want to leave out the dead, I also very much enjoyed these 2018 releases:

Andreas Haefliger - Perspectives 7
Barbara Hannigan - Vienna: Fin de siècle
Claude Debussy - Les trois sonates (Faust, Melnikov, Queyras, et al.)
Dénes Várjon - De la nuit
Ditta Rohmann - Solo Cello Portrait
Edvard Grieg - Violin Sonatas (Vineta Sareika & Amandine Savary)
Gabriel Fauré - Horizons
Heino Eller - Violin Concerto; Fantasy; Symphonic Legend; Symphony No. 2
Mihai Ritivoiu - Transcendence
Olivier Messiaen - Catalogue d'oiseaux (Pierre-Laurent Aimard)
Robert Schumann - String Quartet (Engegård Quartet)
Till Fellner - Beethoven, Liszt
Wilhelm Stenhammar - Symphony No. 2; Serenade (Herbert Blomstedt)

pomenitul, Monday, 17 December 2018 10:11 (three months ago) Permalink

I am very much hoping from the title of that Hannigan album that it includes schoenberg op.10. I have a glitchy broadcast capture of her doing that and have been really hoping for an official recording.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 20 December 2018 23:17 (three months ago) Permalink

Googling, I see it’s not. Darn. Soon, I hope.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Thursday, 20 December 2018 23:34 (three months ago) Permalink

As for Fin de partie, I think rush was referring to the radio recording that's been making the rounds (the YT link I put up a month ago is no longer available, though).

― pomenitul

yeah that was the one

errang (rushomancy), Friday, 21 December 2018 00:40 (three months ago) Permalink

for my NYC types:
perhaps of particular interest is carolyn shaw's Partita for 8 Voices, performed live and free in Times Square at 4pm and 7pm. only a half hour long!

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 21 December 2018 02:31 (three months ago) Permalink

Have the roomful of teeth recording of Partita, absolutely not missing Partita.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 21 December 2018 14:24 (three months ago) Permalink

let's plan on doing it together jon! times square in january, what's not to love?

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 21 December 2018 16:51 (three months ago) Permalink

#classicalfrenz :)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 21 December 2018 17:33 (three months ago) Permalink

for sure and def, consider it written in stone

(LL u should listen to partita if you haven't it will floor u!)

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 21 December 2018 17:46 (three months ago) Permalink

i will, it's holiday break mental reset time :) :) :)

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Friday, 21 December 2018 17:49 (three months ago) Permalink

same here starting in two hours

but only til wednesday

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 21 December 2018 17:53 (three months ago) Permalink

to the side. to the side. to the side and around. through the middle and. to the side. to the side. to the side and around. through the middle and. to the side. to the side. to thesidetothesidetothesideandaroundtothesideandaroundandaround. to the side, two three four. and fiveacrosssix seven eight, through the midpoint, uppertwolinethreedrawnfourfromtheleftfourleftfivesidesixleftalabandesideleftahahahahahahahahahahahahaahaahahahaa AAAAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAHAAAAAHAAAAAAAAAAAA

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 21 December 2018 17:56 (three months ago) Permalink

it's only 25 minutes Lechera, totally worth it.

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Friday, 21 December 2018 17:57 (three months ago) Permalink

Shaw's chamber pc Valencia was performed a couple of weeks ago at Scholes St Studio which is quite close to my house and has a chamber music series, I lamed out and I feel dumb about that. Also on the bill was the 2nd Brahms Quintet which I adore. I don't get myself sometimes.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 21 December 2018 18:30 (three months ago) Permalink

amendment, i almost NEVER get myself

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Friday, 21 December 2018 18:30 (three months ago) Permalink

Valencia = the string quartet that Jasper SQ recorded on Unbound? In the end, I just never felt like that piece hung together, formally, nor that the parts were remarkable enough in themselves to overcome that isssue, unless I just didn't understand it. Maybe it would work better live?

Locked in silent monologue, in silent scream (Sund4r), Saturday, 22 December 2018 14:16 (three months ago) Permalink

Following up on this post in 2016 Rolling Classical Listening Thread about taonga pūoro, traditional Māori instruments

Two new albums feature taonga pūoro:

A compilation of pieces by Richard Nunns, Mahi (Works)


The book gathers together an enormous amount of the current knowledge about taonga puoro, and will undoubtedly be the most important written resource in existence on the subject. It also charts the many other paths that Richard has taken with the music, including the huge variety of recordings he has done, his sound-track work, and his playing in other genres, such as free jazz and classical. - (

And a new work by Al Fraser, Toitū Te Pūoro (~The music remains), featuring Ariana Tikao on "Hikoi"


Subtle and strident, of this world and yet not of this world, this album is as close as we are likely to get to a recorded impression of the sounds of our land and water, of our ancient Aotearoa. Only someone who has committed to the kind of apprenticeship Al Fraser has gone on with taonga puoro could have created this album. Our cultural landscape is richer for his work and dedication. - (Jacquie Walters,

sbahnhof, Sunday, 30 December 2018 09:47 (two months ago) Permalink

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