Rolling Classical 2021

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

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gx8GXoMC67I

pomenitul, Wednesday, 17 March 2021 00:48 (one month 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 (one month 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 (one month 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 (one month 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 (one month ago) link

Hope ECM or someone gets on that.

Bruno Ganz and Babaloo Mandel (Boring, Maryland), Thursday, 18 March 2021 16:20 (one month 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 (one month 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: http://www.21cguitar.com/livestream

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

Oh thanks, I'll look for that.

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

Alejandro Tentor killing Murail's Tellur rn.

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

Free/PWYC Angela Hewitt livestream concert at 4:00 EDT today: https://www.thegilmore.org/event/angela-hewitt/

Thinking about it myself.

Just Another Onionhead (Sund4r), Sunday, 28 March 2021 14:50 (one month ago) link

New Adam Cicchillitti/Steve Cowan album Intimate Impressions/Impressions intimes is all arrangements of music by Ravel, Debussy, Tailleferre, Jolivet, and Mompou: https://open.spotify.com/album/5hWYCrIHZuRpMXmugoQ3vL?si=cZIHrq_KRBKvL8GvGPNpeA . Much softer than Focus but pretty, intricate, and really precisely played and recorded. Adam also played Benjamin Dwyer's first etude at 21CG, which was great.

Just Another Onionhead (Sund4r), Sunday, 4 April 2021 22:33 (one month ago) link

Here's a video of that Dwyer study, actually:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5RYYWqcNCao

Just Another Onionhead (Sund4r), Monday, 5 April 2021 14:03 (one month ago) link

I'm a fan of the repertoire so I'll check out the album for sure.

pomenitul, Monday, 5 April 2021 14:04 (one month ago) link

*micropolyphonically* Nice. pic.twitter.com/rf8Ms4U5uU

— Robert Komaniecki (@Komaniecki_R) April 8, 2021

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 8 April 2021 13:10 (one month ago) link

I wonder if Beethoven also had it in mind when he wrote his third cello sonata?

pomenitul, Thursday, 8 April 2021 15:28 (one month ago) link

I am so, so into the Netherlands Bach Society videos. They're recording and uploading every single thing that Bach ever wrote. I.. have yet to hear anything that they've uploaded that hasn't immediately become "my favourite performance of this work".

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qr0f6t2UbOo

^ this is transcendent; I am going to replace their principal violist tho

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSwLeKWKtis

Jesus fucking Christ

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gYT1JUq0k04

Jesus fucking Christ
This dude, Shunske Sato, also the artistic director of this group, is serving my favourite-ever performances of solo Bach and I've listened to literally thousands

btw? that famous part of the E-major prelude (0:37)? I just learned that there is a word for that technique: bariolage.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bariolage

zaddy’s home (flamboyant goon tie included), Thursday, 15 April 2021 15:48 (one month ago) link

Ha, yeah, I started learning the lute version and then put it down when things came up Should pick it up again.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Thursday, 15 April 2021 15:54 (one month ago) link

Anyone else here using the Primephonic streaming service for classical? I just signed up yesterday to a two month free trial. It's main selling points are superior audio quality (an option for lossless 24-bit FLAC files), an extensive catalog, and searching and browsing that's organized for classical.

That last part, although not ideal in every way, is what I've most appreciated so far. Selections are grouped mainly by composer and composition, rather than artist, album and song. After the frustration of hunting through Spotify with its messy search results for classical, it's a relief to be able to easily navigate to, say, a specific Bartok quartet and see a list of dozens of versions by different ensembles. I've only been playing around through its Sonos interface, so it may be even better on other platforms.

The catalog does appear to be up to date with new releases, although not so extensive on older recordings that may be out of print. It also may not be a place to seek out all the edgiest new shit, unless that's safely tucked away somewhere from the predominant usual longhair fare.

punning display, Saturday, 17 April 2021 23:08 (four weeks ago) link

I can access Naxos Music Library for free through the library so it wouldn't have occurred to me to pay for a classical streaming service but are you saying you can actually stream at 24-bit FLAC quality??

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 18 April 2021 01:22 (four weeks ago) link

Does Primephonic have booklets/liner notes? That’s the main advantage of Naxos.

In on the killfile (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 18 April 2021 01:24 (four weeks ago) link

sund4r, yes if your system and bandwidth can handle it, and if the recording is in 24-bit, of course. The subscription rate is 50% more than for 320k files. I'm sure my older Sonos system wouldn't support 24-bit. I didn't realize the Naxos service had become so big. Thought it just had stuff on the Naxos label.

Yes, the Primephonic Web player has booklets for many releases, not all. It's in a hi-res, very readable format.

punning display, Sunday, 18 April 2021 03:49 (four weeks ago) link

Yeah the Naxos has a very wide selection of labels.

In on the killfile (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 18 April 2021 14:38 (four weeks ago) link

Nice animated video for Hahn's new recording of the Scherzo from Prokofiev's Violin Concerto no. 1:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YDZlF7a_OJY

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 18 April 2021 14:54 (four weeks ago) link

When getting an autograph from Hilary Hahn a few years ago during intermission at the National Symphony in DC I unwisely told her “I like your Ives”—meaning her Ives Sonata CD that came out about that time. She looked a little alarmed and I detected that and quickly hustled off. Only later did I find out that she has a stalker, and may have heard me say “I like your EYES” and may have scared her.

In on the killfile (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 18 April 2021 15:47 (four weeks ago) link

Haha aw

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Sunday, 18 April 2021 15:51 (four weeks ago) link

lol! Just pronounce it 'eaves' for the extra eccentric nerd cred while simultaneously skirting any risk of unintentional skeeviness.

pomenitul, Sunday, 18 April 2021 15:52 (four weeks ago) link

If The old man heard you call him “Sha-rel Eaves” he’d probably hurl some homophobic imprecations your way.

In on the killfile (Boring, Maryland), Sunday, 18 April 2021 16:17 (four weeks ago) link

Good review of Bára Gísladóttir & Skúli Sverrisson's Caeli, certainly one of the classical highlights of 2021 so far:

http://5against4.com/2021/04/22/bara-gisladottir-skuli-sverrisson-caeli/

pomenitul, Thursday, 22 April 2021 14:52 (three weeks ago) link

This is really nice, just premiered on Youtube two days ago:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wZi5L0HVnBI

Sounds like a lot of quarter-tone trills (?), also some flutter-tongue, pitch bending, overblowing and breath effects? Really sensitive dynamics.

Sequel to Sadness (Sund4r), Wednesday, 5 May 2021 10:34 (one week ago) link

Ok I’m going to try to listen to every album mentioned here so far, I’ve previewed some and they sound great.

Any review sites or blogs for classical music that you follow and you’d recommend?

✖✖✖ (Moka), Saturday, 15 May 2021 11:22 (yesterday) link

A few English-language ones that I like, although they're hardly exhaustive:

http://5against4.com (mostly contemporary classical, with a dash of ambient on the side, and a recurrent emphasis on the British and Estonian scenes)

https://johnsonsrambler.wordpress.com (mostly contemporary classical as well, also with a slight bias towards the British scene)

https://www.therestisnoise.com (Alex Ross's website aka the New Yorker's resident classical music critic, a bit too US-centric for my tastes but still worthwhile)

https://www.theguardian.com/profile/andrewclements (Andrew Clements' reviews for The Guardian generally showcase quality releases, and I often myself agreeing with his assessments)

ResMusica is quite good if you can read French, and I'm sure there are plenty of excellent Spanish-language resources. Anglo (and especially American) perspectives on classical music need to be supplemented due to their often subconscious parochialism (this is true of all linguistic and/or lenses, of course). MusicWeb International, for instance, is at times hilariously British, with a marked preference for conservative UK composers, as is The Gramophone. ClassicsToday is the David Hurwitz show, and he's got a strong, extremely subjective sense of what he likes and dislikes, which may or may not be one's jam.

In all honesty, though, I mostly go straight to the labels I enjoy the most and take it from there. They are:

BIS
Chandos
Col Legno
ECM
DaCapo
Deutsche Grammophon
Harmonia Mundi
Kairos
Neos
Ondine
Outhere
Wergo

…and there's plenty more, but it's a start.

pomenitul, Saturday, 15 May 2021 14:45 (yesterday) 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 (yesterday) link

Pom you are a dear as always. Thanks!

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

My pleasure. :)

pomenitul, Saturday, 15 May 2021 19:45 (yesterday) 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 (yesterday) link


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