Rolling Classical 2021

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A recording of Bach's six Cello Suites by ex-Arditti Quartet cellist Rohan de Saram came out yesterday. 2021's off to a promising start.

Speaking of the Ardittis, I also look forward to their studio recordings of Georg Friedrich Haas's 4th and 7th String Quartets for NEOS.

pomenitul, Saturday, 2 January 2021 19:09 (eight months ago) link

this Helge Sten and Ståle Storløkken/Trondheim Voices collaboration is beautiful.

calzino, Friday, 15 January 2021 11:37 (eight months ago) link

Love me some new Hubro.

pomenitul, Friday, 15 January 2021 13:23 (eight months ago) link

This video is labelled as audio of Villa-Lobos playing his first Prelude, which I've never heard before. He did it much slower than I'm used to, assuming it's legitimate! Some images of him playing guitar, although I don't think it's the same piece.

Inside there's a box and that box has another box within (Sund4r), Sunday, 17 January 2021 05:35 (eight months ago) link

Hilary Hahn describes her new album:

In the meantime, here’s some info on the pieces and album. ❤️

Earrings (mine) by @satelliteparis.

— Hilary Hahn (@violincase) January 25, 2021

Inside there's a box and that box has another box within (Sund4r), Monday, 25 January 2021 01:41 (seven months ago) link

two weeks pass...

Might as well xpost the classical titles from the rolling favourite tracks and albums 2021 thread:

Behzod Abduraimov – Debussy, Chopin, Mussorgsky [two warhorses and a half, Children's Corner, 24 Preludes and Pictures at an Exhibition, incredibly well played by this young Uzbek pianist]

Johann Sebastian Bach – Well-Tempered Clavier (Piotr Anderszewski) [just a single disc: excerpts from Book II, played piecemeal and out of order yet oh so well]

Ludwig van Beethoven – Missa solemnis (René Jacobs, et al.) [a notoriously impossible work, yet Jacobs, a countertenor-turned-conductor, pulls it off because he gets that it's all about the balance of voices]

Marc Monnet – En pièces (François-Frédéric Guy) [supposedly a jokey composer yet most of these piano etudes are light-absorbing, with a predilection for the lowest registers]

Olga Neuwirth – Solo (Klangforum Wien) [all solo works, duh, including one for flute and typewriter; best album I've ever heard by this Austrian composer who once turned Lost Highway into an opera]

Thibaut Roussel, et al. – Le Coucher du roi. Musiques pour la chambre de Louis XIV [Renaissance ambient music for the Sun King to go to bed to; a bit weird, because some of it is more upbeat than you'd expect]

A few extras:

Alfred Schnittke – Works for Violin and Piano (Daniel Hope & Alexey Botvinov)

Elliott Carter – La musique (Swiss Chamber Soloists)

Florent Boffard – Beethoven, Berg, Boulez

Johann Sebastian Bach – Partitas, Part 1 (Evgeni Koroliov)

Patricia Kopatchinskaja, Sol Gabetta & Camerata Bern – Plaisirs illuminés

Stefano Gervasoni – Muro di canti (Monica Bacelli, Aldo Orvieto, Alvise Vidolin, Marco Liuni)

Toshio Hosokawa – Solo (Klangforum Wien)

Vagn Holmboe – String Quartets, Vol. 1 (Nightingale Quartet)

pomenitul, Thursday, 11 February 2021 03:21 (seven months ago) link

You had me at "flute and typewriter". I see Klangforum Wien is releasing five 'solo' thingies in total?!? Sciarrino, Saunders and Aperghis too.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Thursday, 11 February 2021 06:18 (seven months ago) link

Saunders and Sciarrino are two of my favourite living composers but I found their sets a bit disappointing, alas. The Aperghis is quite good, however, and I probably should have included it, I’m just a bit biased because I don’t love the rest of his output.

pomenitul, Thursday, 11 February 2021 14:41 (seven months ago) link

This seems like it's actually serious:

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Thursday, 11 February 2021 17:12 (seven months ago) link

This seems like it's actually serious:🕸

melodic classical music that is full of passion


Mosholu Porkway (Boring, Maryland), Thursday, 11 February 2021 20:38 (seven months ago) link


The first and only festival of its kind in the world with the mission to promote and showcase high-quality orchestral music that is tuneful, accessible, universally appealing and created by a diverse number of living composers attending the events.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Thursday, 11 February 2021 20:44 (seven months ago) link

I've listened twice to Abduraimov's recording of the Chopin Preludes. I've been conditioned by Pollini and Argerich to expect v expressive rubato interpretations of these so Abduraimov's comparative restraint and precision was almost disorienting at first. On the second listen, though, I could appreciate the elegance of how he was letting the lines and the pulse speak for themselves.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Friday, 12 February 2021 14:16 (seven months ago) link

Interesting. I wasn’t particularly struck by his restraint – he seems to have taken his cues from the Russian school above all – but now that I think back on Pollini’s and (especially) Argerich’s recordings, I see what you’re saying.

pomenitul, Friday, 12 February 2021 16:01 (seven months ago) link

You know it sucks that people with corny-ass taste in music are still banging the (obviously incorrect) drum that “academia and the classical music Establishment is trying to shove atonal noise down audiences’ throats.” It may have had a grain of truth once in the 50s-70s (and at that, manly in Europe but definitely not North America or the UK where the warhorses are beaten into a pulp anew every subscription season). But the most popular living classical composers today are mostly melodic and tonal, and audiences seem to react well to the somnambulant Post-Minimalism that is being churned out by the yard these days, so I don’t know what those “let’s bring good music back” chuckleheads are reacting against unless they think like Nico Muhly or Jake Heggie is too avant-garde or something.

Mosholu Porkway (Boring, Maryland), Friday, 12 February 2021 16:34 (seven months ago) link

It’s been all downhill since the tritone imo.

pomenitul, Friday, 12 February 2021 16:45 (seven months ago) link

Happy birthday Fernando Sor!

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Sunday, 14 February 2021 01:31 (seven months ago) link

Anyone who misses the arch-high modernist complexity of old should check out contemporary British composer Sam Hayden's piano works as played by the indefatigable Ian Pace. Disc 1 is devoted to a fittingly protean recent cycle, Becomings, that sustained my interest throughout despite my somewhat waning interest in the subgenre, while disc 2 focuses on older, more approachable yet equally relentless works, including one, Piano Moves (1990), that engages with post-minimalism.

pomenitul, Sunday, 14 February 2021 22:10 (seven months ago) link

I'm not averse to minimalism or even post minimalism it's just very easy to become car commercial music.

Mosholu Porkway (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 14 February 2021 22:12 (seven months ago) link

Definitely, and Sam Hayden manifestly agreed as far back as 1990: Piano Moves sounds like post-minimalism for people who hate post-minimalism (my feelings towards it are not as belligerent, I just think it takes up way too much cultural space). Anyway, the other pieces are all at the furthest possible remove from US-style minimalism.

pomenitul, Sunday, 14 February 2021 22:16 (seven months ago) link

Thanks for the recommendation will check out.

Mosholu Porkway (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 14 February 2021 22:19 (seven months ago) link

it's just very easy to become car commercial music.

Haha. I once found myself uttering "Can we switch to something else? We appear to have entered a merchant banking advertisement" while being driven through a deserted business district to a soundtrack of... not exactly sure now, some CD of numbingly circular orchestral music. It was too real.

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Sunday, 14 February 2021 23:55 (seven months ago) link

I listened to the seven movement piece "Becomings". Oddly, I found myself more able to get into it after a couple of drinks, when I could let myself fall into the space of the piece(s) and give time to all the dynamics and textures without trying too hard to pick out the formal logic. I'm still not sure I completely have a handle on it but it's interesting and there's a lot happening, a bit like some of the early Boulez integral-serialist piano works.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Monday, 15 February 2021 04:23 (seven months ago) link

We were listening to Thomas Demenga's 2017 ECM recording of the six Bach cello suites this morning. The dark and smooth tone he got by using historically-informed instruments (18th- and 17th century cellos, apparently, Baroque-style bow, unwound gut strings tuned down a whole tone; not that much vibrato, compared to what I usually expect) is really pleasing, esp with the ECM recording.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Monday, 15 February 2021 04:43 (seven months ago) link

Glad you enjoyed the Hayden! I tend to approach self-consciously complex notated music in much the same manner as free improv (and composers/performers like Richard Barrett have explicitly sought to bridge that gap) so the moment-to-moment energy is what draws me in first and foremost. The underlying theory comes later, provided I’m even able to grasp its logic, which is almost never the case beyond the basics and, occasionally, the extramusical material that Inspired the work.

As for Demenga, that set was a pleasant surprise when it came out. I had enjoyed his previous series for ECM, pairing Bach with various contemporary composers, and found his takes on the latter as persuasive as his readings of the former were not. The re-recordings are something else entirely, just marvellous stuff.

pomenitul, Monday, 15 February 2021 16:58 (seven months ago) link

As a final addendum to 2020, two albums I missed out on last year:

David Chaillou’s Légendes as played by Laura Mikkola, a beautiful piano cycle that melds post-minimalism (that word again!) with the post-Debussyan French tradition, so you’ll hear echoes of Dutilleux and, to a lesser extent, Grisey. Lovely and accessible yet never simplistic.

Four recordings from the Donaueschinger Musiktage 2019 that only just popped up on streaming services despite their official (physical) release last October: works by Mark Andre, Johannes Boris Borowski, Eva Reiter and Alberto Posadas. Andre – a French (ex-French?) student of Lachenmann’s who makes residually ‘religious’ music inspired by his Lutheran faith and his fascination with etymological word-fragments – and Posadas – a Spanish post-spectralist with a gift for poetically imaginative writing – are among my favourite living composers, so this one was a no-brainer for me, but all contributions here are very much worthwhile if you care for the continental European scene.

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 February 2021 15:10 (seven months ago) link

I listened to the Chaillou disc in the background. It seemed pretty and well-crafted but didn't make an extremely strong first impression - that's not necessarily a bad thing, though. I will come back to it since it's the kind of thing I've been wanting more of.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 20:53 (seven months ago) link

It’s nothing earth-shattering but I’m partial to this idiom and Chaillou does justice to it, I think. Also, fwiw, I liked my second encounter with it better – my first was closer to your assessment (and, who knows?, perhaps my third as well).

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 February 2021 21:11 (seven months ago) link

György Kurtág just turned 95!

To mark this, a new recording of The Saying of Péter Bornemisza, with Tony Arnold and Gábor Csalog, was released today.

BMC records, the Hungarian label, is hosting a four-day Kurtág festival:

Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw and Pierre-Laurent Aimard will also be streaming several works of his:

pomenitul, Friday, 19 February 2021 17:14 (seven months ago) link

Livestream concert at 8:30 Eastern time by Twin Cities new music org 113 Composers:

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Saturday, 20 February 2021 23:05 (seven months ago) link

It's at a significant remove from my own preferences, but I'm glad they're doing this. The O'Rourke in particular is incredible.

pomenitul, Friday, 5 March 2021 14:11 (six months ago) link

Characteristically terrific, semi-improvised electroacoustic duos between Richard Barrett (composition and electronics) and five musicians: Daryl Buckley (electric lap steel guitar and electronics), Ivana Grahovac (cello), Lori Freedman (bass clarinet), Anne La Berge (flute) and Lê Quan Ninh (percussion):

Rewards, even requires close listening, of course. Tim Rutherford-Johnson wrote about it on his Rambler blog:

pomenitul, Sunday, 14 March 2021 20:51 (six months ago) link

Wow, "Dysnomia" is certainly promising, for starters...

Nag! Nag! Nag!, Sunday, 14 March 2021 22:25 (six months ago) link

Dudamel's Ives set won the Grammy for orchestral performance.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Monday, 15 March 2021 02:42 (six months ago) link

A deserving winner, especially since Concurrence by the Iceland Symphony Orchestra & Daníel Bjarnason came out in 2019…

pomenitul, Monday, 15 March 2021 02:48 (six months ago) link

Dudamel's Ives set won the Grammy for orchestral performance.

Still haven't gotten around to listening to it but oi tlk be hard to dislodge Bernstein and MTT from their leading positions. We as a culture are only getting further away from the kind of soumdworld that Ives drew on, and I feel like Bernstein, although of a different background, understood that world.

Bruno Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Boring, Maryland), Monday, 15 March 2021 03:19 (six months ago) link

A covid-era concert of chamber music by the Ensemble InterContemporain, featuring works by Debussy, Kurtág, Saariaho and Sinnhuber:

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:48 (six months ago) link

A few more Q1 favourites if anyone's interested:

Alberto Posadas – Veredas (Ricard Capellino Carlos)

Daniele Pollini – Schumann, Brahms, Schoenberg

Danish String Quartet – Prism III

Ferenc Stnétberger & Keller Quartett – Hallgató

György Kurtág – The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza (Tony Arnold & Gábor Csalog)

Johannes Brahms – Sonatas op. 120 (Antoine Tamestit & Cédric Tiberghien)

José Luis Hurtado – Parametrical Counterpoint (Talea Ensemble, José Luis Hurtado)

Jurgis Karnavičius – String Quartets Nos. 1 & 2 (Vilnius String Quartet)

Michaël Jarrell – Orchestral Works (T. Zimmermann, R. Capuçon, Orchestre National des Pays de la Loire, P. Rophé)

Richard Barrett – binary systems

Toshio Hosokawa – Works for Flute (Yoshie Ueno)

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 17:08 (six months ago) link

Posadas: six bottomlessly inventive pieces for solo saxophone that I shouldn't care for on paper but that sustain my interest throughout because Posadas is just that good.

Pollini: the son of you-know-who, also a pianist of note and no less remarkable an interpreter, here tackling Carnaval, the Klavierstücke op. 119 and three sets of piano pieces by Schoenberg. Incredible stuff.

Danish String Quartet: the first couple of volumes, pairing Beethoven with Bach and another composer were EOY highlights, and this third entry (featuring Bartók's early 1st SQ) is no exception.

Snétberger (apologies for the typo in my previous post) & Keller Quartett: features excellent performances of weepy classics by Shostakovich (8th SQ), Barber (Adagio) and Dowland, as well as more recent, equally wistful pieces for guitar and string quartet by Snétberger himself. One for the Weltschmerz heads.

Kurtág: a seemingly definitive performance of one of his most important early song cycles, somewhere between Bartók, Webern and Beckett. Hungarian is a notoriously difficult language, and Tony Arnold is astounding here.

Brahms: one of the best living 'star' violists paired with an excellent pianist takes on Brahms's late sonatas, which I personally can't get enough of. The bonus lieder with none other than Matthias Goerne are a nice touch.

Hurtado: MODERNISM'S NOT DEAD says this Mexican-American composer who studied under Davidovsky, Czernowin, Lindberg, Ferneyhough and Lachenmann, and he's damn right about that if these typically demanding works for chamber ensemble are anything to go by.

Karnavičius: an obscure early 20th century Lithuanian composer presented as the missing link between Tchaikovsky and Shostakovich. I was skeptical at first but these are very good works in that late Romantic / early modernist vein I love so much.

Jarrell: Swiss composers are stupidly underrated and Jarrell is no exception, yet there is so much to like about the aesthetic liberalism of these works, which draw as much upon the postwar French tradition as upon its German counterpart. This is music that aspires towards the condition of poetry (whatever that means!).

Barrett: one of my favourite living composers, just relentlessly exploratory in his approach to music-making and one of the few imo whose interest in the intersection between aesthetics and politics comes across as genuinely thought out and convincing. Follow that Rambler link I posted upthread if you're curious.

Hosokawa: another year, another Hosokawa release (in fact the second this year for Kairos), which is of course a very good thing if a less lush and more austere Takemitsu sounds appealing to you (it certainly appeals to me!).

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 18:55 (six months ago) link

Re: Kurtag is there any legal way to hear or watch fin de partie with English translation/subtitles?

Bruno Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Boring, Maryland), Thursday, 18 March 2021 01:32 (six months ago) link

Not to my knowledge, I'm afraid. You could follow along with a copy of Beckett's own English translation (Endgame), but that's hardly ideal.

pomenitul, Thursday, 18 March 2021 01:37 (six months ago) link

Hope ECM or someone gets on that.

Bruno Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Boring, Maryland), Thursday, 18 March 2021 16:20 (six months ago) link

I assume Manfred Eicher is waiting for Kurtág to complete the work. Time's running out, though...

pomenitul, Thursday, 18 March 2021 16:24 (six months ago) link

Vested interest since I'm involved with several events but I think the 21st Century Guitar Conference, entirely virtual this year and starting tomorrow, may be of general interest as well. A lot of performances, new premieres as well as talks and discussions:

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Sunday, 21 March 2021 19:20 (five months ago) link

Looks cool. I'm too swamped to attend anything these days but thanks for the heads up and have fun!

pomenitul, Monday, 22 March 2021 14:25 (five months ago) link

Speaking of the 21st (and 20th) century guitar, DaCapo just released a monograph devoted to Danish guitarist-composer Lars Hegaard and it's quite lovely, on the gentler, more impressionistic end of high modernism.

pomenitul, Monday, 22 March 2021 15:43 (five months ago) link

Oh thanks, I'll look for that.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Monday, 22 March 2021 16:20 (five months ago) link

Another recently released record that I feel the need to stan for is Caeli by Bára Gísladóttir & Skúli Sverrisson, which is an epic (2h+) sky-touched duo for double-bass and electronics that draws on Scelsi, spectralism, Stefano Scodanibbio, ambient and noise. I'll need to look into Sverrisson's other duos (there's one with Bill Frisell from 2018, for instance).

pomenitul, Monday, 22 March 2021 16:34 (five months ago) link

Alejandro Tentor killing Murail's Tellur rn.

to party with our demons (Sund4r), Tuesday, 23 March 2021 17:30 (five months ago) link

Mode Records too
Sono Luminus for contemporary Icelandic composers
Winter & Winter
Editions RZ

Everyone swears by Another Timbre these days. I find them very hit-or-miss because their aesthetic is too neutral and uneventful for my ears but I'm probably alone on this one. Wandelweiser takes it to an even greater minimalistic, quasi inaudible extreme and it's not my thing at all but you might be into it.

pomenitul, Saturday, 15 May 2021 14:53 (four months ago) link

Pom you are a dear as always. Thanks!

Van Halen dot Senate dot flashlight (Boring, Maryland), Saturday, 15 May 2021 17:54 (four months ago) link

My pleasure. :)

pomenitul, Saturday, 15 May 2021 19:45 (four months ago) link

this is true of all linguistic and/or lenses

This should read 'this is true of all linguistic and/or national lenses' btw.

pomenitul, Saturday, 15 May 2021 19:48 (four months ago) link

Thank u pom!

✖✖✖ (Moka), Tuesday, 18 May 2021 07:07 (four months ago) link

RIP Cristóbal Halffter, one of Spain's 20th century greats:

pomenitul, Monday, 24 May 2021 18:27 (three months ago) link

I'm pretty sure this is a Spanish-language obituary run through Google translate, but eh, it's better than nothing.

pomenitul, Monday, 24 May 2021 18:29 (three months ago) link

Huh, I didn't know about him. Best place to start?

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 27 May 2021 03:04 (three months ago) link

Xpost: Yeah original source comes from 20minutos which is a popular newspaper from Spain.

Here’s the original source:

✖✖✖ (Moka), Thursday, 27 May 2021 03:17 (three months ago) link

Just as I thought, thanks.

Sund4r: I’m not familiar enough with his oeuvre to say, but I remember enjoying his 2nd Cello Concerto (dedicated to Mstislav Rostropovich), the few string quartets of his I’ve heard and the Guitar Concerto (with Narciso Yepes playing the solo part).

pomenitul, Thursday, 27 May 2021 04:00 (three months ago) link

two weeks pass...

I'm usually a little sceptical of these ideas but according to this article, they might work?

How one symphony found success by acting more like a jazz club.

— Ted Gioia (@tedgioia) June 13, 2021

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:10 (three months ago) link

last couple could go either way but the rest are good and long overdue imo

Left, Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:20 (three months ago) link

could there be some kind of pay what you want thing for the programme notes if they're not included in the ticket price bc what they charge for them is nothing to some concert-goers and prohibitively expensive for others

these are good practical accomodations my only fear is if "accessibility" also means (as it so often does) doubling down on just playing the hits and marginalising (even more) anything deemed too challenging for audiences. that *and* the culture that frowns on the things in the twitter post above are what have made concert attendance so unappealing to me

Left, Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:41 (three months ago) link

I've never had to pay for programme notes?!

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:42 (three months ago) link

From a quick scan of California Symphony programmes, they don't seem that conservative, by the standards of American symphonies, e.g.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:48 (three months ago) link

20/21 season included Verklarte Nacht:

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:49 (three months ago) link

xps maybe it's just a UK or london thing but they're often £4-6 which is just ridiculous

Left, Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:55 (three months ago) link

Maybe this has been posted before but I've never heard anything risk so much and pay off so well

I'm actually not sure the 'hits' that fill up most symphony seasons in the US/Canada are especially popular with broader and younger audiences (as the fact that we are having this discussion itself indicates). xps

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 15:59 (three months ago) link

Oh wow, that is a different take on "Winter" than Perlman's. A lot of intensity.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 16:26 (three months ago) link

Yard sale of special effects on baroque instruments, pure gut strings, it’s wild, no?

Yeah, sounds great

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 13 June 2021 17:51 (three months ago) link

Cicchillitti/Cowan album Focus won Classical Recording of the Year (for last year) at East Coast Music Awards:

Anyone know the "classical composition" winner?

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 03:41 (three months ago) link

I guess they qualify bc Cowan is originally from Newfoundland, though he is now based in Montreal.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 15 June 2021 03:45 (three months ago) link

Listened to the Sato performance of the E major Partita - very nice. But fgti, you were joking about replacing the principal violist in the Netherlands Bach Society, I assume? Or serious??

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Monday, 21 June 2021 13:42 (two months ago) link

Nice short dodecaphonic guitar piece by a Sakatoon composer:

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Wednesday, 23 June 2021 21:46 (two months ago) link

But fgti, you were joking about replacing the principal violist in the Netherlands Bach Society, I assume? Or serious??

Haha I'm just determined to be the violist who nails the solo on Brandenburg 3:iii, it's always so disappointing when it happens

I'm not a Thomas Adès fan by any stretch of the imagination, but his protégé, Francisco Coll, deserves all the attention he can get. Check out his recent disc of orchestral works for Pentatone, featuring Patricia Kopatchinskaja in the post-Ligetian Violin Concerto and Four Iberian Miniatures. There's a clear, legible sense of narrative and drama in these works, which liberally synthesize late 20th/early 21st century modernist trends, the common thread being his interest in the traditional music of his native country, Spain. Really exciting stuff.

pomenitul, Saturday, 26 June 2021 12:38 (two months ago) link

Also worth hearing, along the same lines, is PatKop's (I hate this, but it's kinda funny nonetheless) album with the Camerata Bern, featuring works by the aforementioned Coll, Veress and Ginastera.

pomenitul, Saturday, 26 June 2021 12:43 (two months ago) link

Have heard some Veress these last couple years and am mystified why he isn’t discussed more (in three Classical Music Media Discourse).

I love what PatKop does but haven’t heard her Pierrot Lunaire and I’m a bit skeptical about it since she’s not really a vocalist.

Van Halen dot Senate dot flashlight (Boring, Maryland), Saturday, 26 June 2021 13:33 (two months ago) link

Same tbh. The reviews I've read seem to indicate that it's a 'love it or hate it'-type deal.

pomenitul, Saturday, 26 June 2021 13:34 (two months ago) link

WTC1 performed live by Mahan Esfahani on a custom-built harpsichord by Jukka Olikka with a carbon fibre soundboard and 16 ft stop and a historically informed well temperament. May be taken down soon-ish. I'm up to Bb minor and it's very good so far:

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 29 June 2021 18:43 (two months ago) link

Eb minor sounds amazing in this temperament imo.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 29 June 2021 19:39 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

Listening to this long OOP 1977 record of Christina Petrowska (now Petrowska-Quilico) playing Messiaen and Debussy:ésus-Preludes-Book-Two/release/10419739

I found that there was finally a digital rerelease, along with a 2003 Boulez recording:

I haven't listened to the sound of the digital version yet but I doubt David Jaeger screwed it up. The LP is fantastic so I recommend these recordings to anyone who doesn't know them.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 3 August 2021 13:39 (one month ago) link

Rerelease less than a month old.

He's been releasing a lot since COVID but this recent William Beauvais set is especially good, all solo improvisatory pieces on classical guitar:

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 3 August 2021 13:41 (one month ago) link

Listening to the Boulez pieces from Sound Visionaries on NML, they sound great.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Tuesday, 3 August 2021 14:05 (one month ago) link

Pretty nice album of contemporary violin duos by Twin Cities composers:

Definitely on the modernist side. The notes describe the pieces better than I could atm:

The album opens with Jeremy Wagner’s Oberleitung. This is the German word for “overhead lines,” the kind that carry electricity. It is perfectly descriptive of the skittering, arachnid energy of much of the music. Wagner takes advantage of the violins as much for their percussive attacks as for pitch. After a brief opening incantation, crackling battuto and drop-bow gestures are batted back and forth between the instruments in shaped, fast-moving volleys, as if they are playing a game, creating virtuosic swarms. Wagner gives each of them room to breathe, allowing the series of gestures to speak for themselves inside the larger form.

In contrast, A Lifeless Object, Alive (Dysarthria) by Michael Duffy opens with full-throated double stops, shadowed by soft, porous wisps of sound. This gesture happens many times in the piece: it is as if the long, noise-laiden tones charge the air with sound, and the high, quiet resonances are the afterimage, or the dust settling. The emphasis here is on the grain of the sound, on the continuous morphing and layering of timbre. Layering these tones in separate registers (one violin playing very high, the other much lower) brings an additional degree of depth to the mostly slow-moving lines. Keening, slow glissandi give the piece an air of sorrowful remembrance.

Autochrome Lumière by Joshua Musikantow is a work infused with nostalgia. Fittingly, a more traditional, melodic style of playing is often in the fore here. The music meanders slowly, talking outside of time. The end of the first movement seems to slide up and away, pianissimo, like a memory vanishing. In the second movement, one violin takes the melodic foreground while the other slides in and out of the background with multiple commentaries, whether a waltz beat, or pecking battuto bows, or tapping on the body of the violin. The final movement speaks vividly, in tangled, vexed phrases. It brings to mind the poem that accompanies Musikantow’s piece:

...I contemplate how the dramatic, percussive hang up
is not possible with mobile phones.
You need a landline.
You need a phone with weight; a phone with spiral cords you can twirl
a phone you can hold in the nook
your head and your collarbone,
almost as if playing the violin.

Sam Krahn’s piece Resistance/Resonance starts with satisfyingly meaty scratch tones from one violin and microtonal ornamentation and double stops from the other. The music is pulled back and forth between these two poles; resistance and resonance, noise and pitch. Krahn cultivates engaging music that bridges the two, with gorgeous bent double stops and emotional friction between the two voices . The violins are both attracted and repelled by each other, sometimes standing apart playing without any regard for one another, and sometimes coming together, hovering just outside of consonance.

Difficult Ferns by Adam Zahller is highly microtonal, and heavily ornamented. The piece moves forward on tiny, highly specific changes in rhythm, pitch, and color. The two violins sometimes seem as two projections of the same image, shimmering and wavering through small differences in pitch or rhythm. Zahller creates shadowy, ghostlike images by asking the player to use harmonic touch in the left hand, transforming mid-range pitches into very high, unstable auroras of sound. Much of the music is very quiet, encouraging the listener to lean in and focus more closely on the changes, and saving the louder end of the auditory spectrum for intense moments.

The closing work on the recording, cistern . anechoic . sonolucent by TIffany M. Skidmore is inward-looking, understated. The music floats languidly, slowly moving like a jellyfish in calm water. Like the Zahller, it too explores the quiet range of the instruments, with only a few gestures stepping forward out of the shadows, only to recede again. The mood is one of soulful contemplation. The most arresting part occurs at the very end, when, having placed heavy mutes on the strings to further dampen the sound, the breathing of the two musicians become audible.

Musikantow is a former grad school colleague but I like his piece a lot.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Saturday, 7 August 2021 14:21 (one month ago) link


pomenitul, Sunday, 15 August 2021 19:30 (one month ago) link

Now that I've finally caught up with my 2021 playlist, my classical faves so far look something like this:

Alberto Posadas – Veredas
Alpaca Ensemble – Rehnqvist & Lindquist
Anna-Liisa Eller – Strings Attached
Bára Gísladóttir & Skúli Sverrisson – Caeli
Behzod Abduraimov – Debussy, Chopin, Mussorgsky
Béla Bartók – Bluebeard’s Castle (S. Vörös, M. Kares, Helsinki Philharmonic Orchestra, S. Mälkki)
Clara Iannotta – MOULT
Claudia Chan – Thoughts About the Piano
Daniele Pollini – Schumann, Brahms, Schoenberg
Danish String Quartet – Prism III
Ensemble Organum & Marcel Pérès – In memoria eterna
Estonian Philharmonic Chamber Choir & Kaspars Putniņš – Schnittke, Pärt
Felix Mendelssohn Bartholdy – String Quartets op. 44 Nos. 1 & 2 (Minguet Quartett)
Ferenc Snétberger & Keller Quartett – Hallgató
Francisco Coll – Violin Concerto; Hidd’n Blue; Mural; Four Iberian Miniatures; Aqua cinerea
Georg Friedrich Haas – Ein Schattenspiel; String Quartets Nos. 4 & 7
Guillaume Dufay – Le prince d'amours (Ensemble Gilles Binchois, Dominique Vellard)
György Kurtág – The Sayings of Péter Bornemisza (Tony Arnold & Gábor Csalog)
James Weeks – Summer
Jean Rondeau – Melancholy Grace
Johann Sebastian Bach – Well-Tempered Clavier (Piotr Anderszewski)
Johannes Brahms – Sonatas op. 120 (Antoine Tamestit & Cédric Tiberghien)
José Luis Hurtado – Parametrical Counterpoint
Kassiani – Hymns (Cappella Romana, Alexander Lingas)
Lars Hegaard – Octagonal Room
Ludwig van Beethoven – Complete Piano Concertos (Krystian Zimerman, London Symphony Orchestra, Simon Rattle)
Ludwig van Beethoven – Missa solemnis (René Jacobs, et al.)
Ludwig van Beethoven – Violin Sonatas, Vol. 2 (Frank Peter Zimmermann & Martin Helmchen)
Maacha Deubner & KAPmodern Ensemble – Bessonnitsa
Marc Monnet – En pièces
Michaël Jarrell – Orchestral Works
Olga Neuwirth – Solo
Paul Lewis & Steven Osborne – French Duets
Ramón Humet – Light
Richard Barrett – binary systems
Robert Schumann – Complete Piano Trios, etc. (Trio Wanderer)
Sam Hayden – Becomings
Scott Wollschleger – Dark Days
Thibaut Roussel, et al. – Le Coucher du roi. Musiques pour la chambre de Louis XIV
Toshio Hosokawa – Works for Flute
Trio Hélios – D’un matin de printemps
Trondheim Soloists – Shadows’ Dream
Vadim Gluzman – Beethoven, Schnittke
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Mozart Momentum 1785 (Leif Ove Andsnes, Mahler Chamber Orchestra)

pomenitul, Saturday, 21 August 2021 19:30 (four weeks ago) link

Just saw that Hewitt is streaming live from Wigmore Hall rn:

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Monday, 23 August 2021 12:59 (four weeks ago) link

(Art of the Fugue)

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Monday, 23 August 2021 13:22 (four weeks ago) link

I really need to listen to that Anderszewski WTC on your list, pom, since this year i got acquainted with his Mozart+Schumann fantasies album and it floored me; now my favorite rendition of the Schumann Fantasie. The Tiberghien Brahms and Andsnes WAM are also on my listen pile.

To my great surprise the New Yorker has published a piece on Herbert Blomstedt. Surprising because he is a truly great conductor in more the Pierre Monteux mold - excellence that's hard to hang a tag on. NYer publishes very good classical writing from time to time but I would expect them to cover people like Rattle or FX Roth or like Celibidache-type weirdos rather than somebody like Blomstedt. Yay NYer!

covidsbundlertanze op. 6 (Jon not Jon), Tuesday, 24 August 2021 14:47 (three weeks ago) link

Anderszewski’s disc of WTC sélections is indeed worth your while, as are all of his other recordings (many of which are devoted to Bach).

And yes, that piece is most welcome. Blomstedt 4evah!

pomenitul, Tuesday, 24 August 2021 14:53 (three weeks ago) link

Finally found some uninterrupted time to listen to Moult today. It's quite something. Haven't broken much down but the timbres and textures are interesting and pleasing and it all feels like it flows intuitively or at the least constructs an ambient space, despite the relative lack of pitched material. Beguiling atmospheres in the titular composition.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Friday, 27 August 2021 02:54 (three weeks ago) link

The Anderszewski Bach disc is the excerpts from WTC2? I've been listening to that on NML. It was sounding great today, all the lines and thematic material very clear and the recording itself very pleasant.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 29 August 2021 14:26 (three weeks ago) link

Yes, that’s the one. Glad you liked the Iannotta btw.

pomenitul, Sunday, 29 August 2021 14:52 (three weeks ago) link

I somehow just noticed that the finale of Haydn's Piano Sonata in G Major, Hob. XVI/G1, and the first movement of the G major Sonata or Divertimento Hob. XVI/11 are exactly the same.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Wednesday, 1 September 2021 11:29 (two weeks ago) link

Have you ever experienced sound melting through your headphones? Maybe you’ve heard real-time spectral disintegration of an air raid siren? What about purposeful deformation of the natural order of sound itself?

that's almost exactly what I wuz thinking! I do like this new Yarn/Wire recording though. They've also played on the new Annea Lockwood release that came out yesterday as well.

calzino, Saturday, 11 September 2021 11:07 (one week ago) link


the opening two piano/percussion pieces on this are fucking immense imo

calzino, Monday, 13 September 2021 10:04 (one week ago) link

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