Rolling Classical 2020

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I thought this essay on Wagner and his anti-Semitism (or, rather, anti-Judaism, as the author concludes) was really great, avoiding simplistic takes and looking in depth at the work, the ideas, and the history (and I often roll my eyes wrt discussions of this topic):

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Sunday, 5 January 2020 20:31 (three weeks ago) link

(h/t Oor Neechy)

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Sunday, 5 January 2020 20:33 (three weeks ago) link

It's five years old but new to me.

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Sunday, 5 January 2020 20:41 (three weeks ago) link

Its not new but it is a very good read. I'm not really familiar with Wagners music though.


Dog Is Daed (Oor Neechy), Sunday, 5 January 2020 20:42 (three weeks ago) link

Good piece indeed, even though there are grounds for quibbling here and there. For instance, Mendelssohn was baptized and wrote quite a bit of explicitly Christian music, so Wagner's anti-semitism went beyond opposition to Judaism.

pomenitul, Monday, 6 January 2020 02:13 (three weeks ago) link

Alex Ross's big Wagner book is finally coming out this year, so I'll read this now and think about it again later, probably.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Monday, 6 January 2020 02:28 (three weeks ago) link

Not sure if this fits in on this thread, but has anyone listened to Ekmeles: A Howl That Was Also A Prayer?

idgaf (roxymuzak), Tuesday, 7 January 2020 17:28 (three weeks ago) link

It definitely fits. I just started listening to it. I'd never heard of Taylor Brook but he is apparently a young Canadian composer and McGill grad? Cool.

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Tuesday, 7 January 2020 20:10 (three weeks ago) link

Listening to a really cool solo organ album with terrible cover art. Some seriously swoopy prog-rock noises going on here.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 8 January 2020 00:59 (two weeks ago) link

Sorry, here's the terrible cover art in question:

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 8 January 2020 01:00 (two weeks ago) link

There's far worse tbf. Anyway, I haven't heard the album but Finns are ever reliable composers.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 8 January 2020 01:10 (two weeks ago) link

The album's really good in a "let's freak out the neighbor's pets" sort of way. Not subtle stuff by any stretch.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Wednesday, 8 January 2020 01:13 (two weeks ago) link

Roxy, I've listened to it a couple of times (always while doing something else) and am finding it interesting. There are definitely things to enjoy. The effects and resonances Brook gets from the microtonal motion of voices are very cool and reminded me a little of Qasim Naqvi's Fjoloy. Thw changing vowel shapes show a definite throat singing influence. I really liked the Gee piece: like choral clicks and cuts at times but juxtaposed with more sustained resonant material and those piercing overtones. Great range of timbres and to the point. I think I am still getting a handle on everything that's going on with the Trapani piece in terms of how the voices, electronics, and text are working together but there are pretty moments.

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Wednesday, 8 January 2020 21:30 (two weeks ago) link

i find the spoken portions in Brook's portion sound almost...parodic? i don't know, they rubbed me the wrong way and took me out of it at times. love how all the microtonal stuff sounds juxtaposed with a kind of ars antiqua sound. i enjoyed the little tricks like the bird sounds, and the dial tone (i'm pretty sure that was vocal?) in Trapani's piece, i'm a nut for that kind of thing.

idgaf (roxymuzak), Thursday, 9 January 2020 17:53 (two weeks ago) link

Yeah, the connection between the text and music in the Brook isn't clear to me either. If I focus on the text, it does take me out of the music as well. If I listen for the sound, which is how I listen to it most of the time, the spoken word doesn't bother me but I'm also basically tuning out the text. Someone who knows more about contemporary literature than I do might be getting more out of it? I agree with your comment about the medieval allusions as well.

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 January 2020 20:27 (two weeks ago) link

I see New Focus are also putting out an album by Yale guitarist/composer Ben Verdery, with "Scenes from Ellis Island" as the featured track on Bandcamp here: . I had the opportunity to play in a performance of this piece last August and it's a little surprising to hear this version, which is notably different, with a more stripped down guitar 'ensemble' (I'm guessing overdubs of the two guitarists), a female singer, and no electric guitar solo. The version I played in (also led by Verdery) was closer to the style of these: + . New version sounds beautiful but seems too polite.

Un sang impur (Sund4r), Thursday, 9 January 2020 20:39 (two weeks ago) link

Coming up in March: Barbara Hannigan's take on Gérard Grisey's Quatre chants pour franchir le seuil. Yessss

pomenitul, Saturday, 11 January 2020 16:01 (two weeks ago) link

I have a download of her doing that live with the NYPO. It’s excellent.

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Saturday, 11 January 2020 18:59 (two weeks ago) link

Oh, that's exciting.

One must put up barriers to keep oneself intact (Sund4r), Sunday, 12 January 2020 00:06 (two weeks ago) link

So these are the compositions up for a Grammy tonight. There are a few composers I like a fair bit but I haven't actually listened to any of these yet.:

Berme: Migration Series For Jazz Ensemble & Orchestra, Derek Bermel, composer (Derek Bermel, Ted Nash, David Alan Miller, Juilliard Jazz Orchestra & Albany Symphony Orchestra)
Higdon: Harp Concerto, Jennifer Higdon, composer (Yolanda Kondonassis, Ward Stare & The Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra)
Marsalis: Violin Concerto in D Major, Wynton Marsalis, composer (Nicola Benedetti, Cristian Măcelaru & Philadelphia Orchestra)
Norman: Sustain, Andrew Norman, composer (Gustavo Dudamel & Los Angeles Philharmonic)
Shaw: Orange, Caroline Shaw, composer (Attacca Quartet)
Wolfe: Fire in My Mouth, Julia Wolfe, composer (Jaap Van Zweden, Francisco J.Núñez, Donald Nally, The Crossing, Young People's Chorus Of NY City & New York Philharmonic)

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Monday, 27 January 2020 03:20 (yesterday) link

And Higdon won, it seems. I remember liking her Zaka quite a bit. I'm interested in new harp music. Look forward to hearing this.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Monday, 27 January 2020 03:27 (yesterday) link

I know the cellist from the Attacca Qtet, very cool that they got a nomination

valet doberman (Jon not Jon), Monday, 27 January 2020 05:14 (yesterday) link

I don't know Higdon, but the Grammys nominating Norman, Shaw, Wolfe and Marsalis is honestly better than expected. Though there's probably still people out there complaining serialism got snubbed.

Frederik B, Monday, 27 January 2020 08:38 (yesterday) link

Though there's probably still people out there complaining serialism got snubbed.


*Well, not quite, insofar as serialism is hardly progressive these days and hasn't been for a long time – just another tool in the contemporary composer's shed – but I do find this list of nominees rather and safe and yawn-inducing and American-centric. Not that I expect anything else from the Grammy Awards regardless of category. As a side note, I will no doubt get eviscerated for including none of these composers in the upcoming late 20th/early 21st century decade polls, but when canonical consensus becomes more problematic than ever, I think it's best to own up to one's more subjective intuitions. But we should be fine up until the… 1990s, maybe?

pomenitul, Monday, 27 January 2020 09:24 (yesterday) link

*rather safe

pomenitul, Monday, 27 January 2020 09:27 (yesterday) link

You kinda have to have Partita and Play on there... And Beyond Ocean. Don't fill it up with US hipster stuff, but those three have to be on there imo.

No, it's definitely American-centric, but it's the Grammys, so. I think it's pretty amazing that Andrew Norman is considered safe, and you're probably right, he is, but Play to me is still wtf-just-hit-me incredible.

Frederik B, Monday, 27 January 2020 09:31 (yesterday) link

I don't like Partita and haven't heard Play but as a merciful poll god I will likely include them nonetheless (the former for sure, as its impact is undeniable).

Beyond Ocean will definitely make it – I'm a JLA fan.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 January 2020 09:34 (yesterday) link

I honestly think you might like Andrew Norman. It's pretty crazy. And he has been good at explaining what is new, I've used quotes from him in a couple of film reviews.

Frederik B, Monday, 27 January 2020 09:37 (yesterday) link

Sold. I've added him to my list.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 January 2020 09:43 (yesterday) link

We're talking about the awards given out by an organization of leading figures in the US commercial recording industry so, yes, it's going to be US-slanted and on the safer side. (They're notoriously stuffy even about pop music.) Maybe I should raise my standards but tbh I'm just impressed that they nominate new music at all every year. I've written two serial pieces in the last few years but you could definitely get MORE conservative than Norman/Shaw/Wolfe/Higdon.

With considerable charm, you still have made a choice (Sund4r), Monday, 27 January 2020 13:22 (yesterday) link

Maybe I should raise my standards but tbh I'm just impressed that they nominate new music at all every year.

Realistically speaking, it's pretty cool that they even so much as acknowledge the field.

pomenitul, Monday, 27 January 2020 13:30 (yesterday) link

I reviewed a new album of organ music - Susanne Kujala's Organ Music of the 21st Century. It's really good.

shared unit of analysis (unperson), Tuesday, 28 January 2020 13:25 (six hours ago) link

Yeah, I remember you mentioning it upthread. I'll check it out, thanks.

pomenitul, Tuesday, 28 January 2020 13:37 (six hours ago) link

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