Author Topic: James Dillon (1950-)  (Read 6620 times)

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Offline petrarch

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James Dillon (1950-)
« on: April 16, 2010, 04:53:41 PM »
Noticed there isn't a topic dedicated to scottish composer James Dillon. Usually thought of as belonging to the New Complexity 'school' (alongside e.g. Brian Ferneyhough), Dillon's music, although certainly complex and 'overwritten', is more Varesian and his gestures at times remind me of Xenakis.

I was always fascinated by Dillon's music ever since I got the Helle Nacht/Ignis Noster (both pieces are for orchestra) CD in the mid-90s, along with the other release on Montaigne of solo and chamber music performed by the ensemble Accroche Note. At the time I was deeply into chamber music with a special focus on string quartets (so I grabbed all I could of the Arditti releases on Montaigne), but Dillon's full on orchestral works amazed me greatly, and continue to do so.

Compared to Ferneyhough, Dillon is as complex, but there is an added sense of fluidity and continuity that paradoxically makes it 'easier on the ears' despite the density. It's an organic kind of irregularity, one that feels like there is a sheen integrating the disparate sonorities into a cohesive unit, somehow halfway between Scelsi and Ferneyhough if such a thing is imaginable--or really like Varèse would sound in 1980.

His chamber works are worth a listen too: From Siorram for solo viola that is at times like a Tetras reduction for a single instrument and at others like the drone strings of some renaissance music, to East 11th St NY for percussion which is a natural heir for Ionisation of 50 years before, Dillon's music is captivating, polished and rewarding.

I have 4 CDs of his music, and will add a few more to my wish list.

     

     
//p
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Franco

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #1 on: April 17, 2010, 05:07:35 PM »
This is a new name for me, but, judging by the comparisons you make, someone whose music I will enjoy.

Thanks for starting the thread.

Offline Luke

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #2 on: April 18, 2010, 12:39:35 AM »
That's a great little summary of Dillon's music! I got pretty hooked on it in the mid 90s too, as it happens, and the Music Projects London disc with East 11th Street was the one which did it for me, though the piece that stood out for me there, and still does, is the superbly imagined and orchestrally delicious Windows and Canopies. That was a real touchstone piece for me for years, it impressed me so deeply. Being a score-addict, that was a score which I just needed, and I still remember the day I finally got it!

As I say, a lovely description of Dillon - the only thing I'd take exception to is the Ferneyhough comparison. Though traditionally lumped in with the New Complexity guys, IMO Dillon is a great deal simpler - the rhythms are ultra-complex, to be sure, but not as maddeningly complex and involved as Ferneyhough (for instance Dillon doesn't tend to use nests of nests of nests of tuplets a la BF, nor does he use BF's irrational time signatures AFAIK); the textures can be stunningly full and detailed but work with greater sweeps of sound than F's (Sibelius to F's Mahler - a cheeky comparison but perhaps with some point to it); the harmony is simpler, there is a greater use of drones which take on an almost tonal function as times. It all makes Dillon a much 'easier' listening experience than Ferneyhough but a very rewarding and fascinating one indeed.

Offline Sylph

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snyprrr

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #4 on: April 18, 2010, 04:23:35 PM »
I used to have the Arroche Note chamber cd,... now I wish I would have kept it, but, it is tough with an album of one solo piano, one solo this, one solo+doublebass, or something,...I liked it at the time, but I had nothing to relate it to at the time, so,...

The Arditti disc changed things around for me, though. I just really love that SQ No.2. Yes, Dillon sounds superficially like Ferneyhough, but with a whole lot more 'magical' sounds (sometimes I don't find Fernery's virtuosity 'fun'). This SQ sounds very much like a dramatic tale of forest sounds. I have to say that it is one of my favorite Ardittis',... it does seem to have everything, in a totally integrated approach.

Add to this the piece for 2 violins, the solo cello and viola (Knox viola recital) and violin (Arditti violin recital) pieces, and you've got a nice start. I think there is also an SQ No.3 on one of those Daunischagen (I kinow, I know) cds.

Oh, and then there's the new Arditti recording of the Piano Quintet, 'The Soadie Waste', which appears to come with some of the other pieces as well. So, there you have it, you can get a pretty good swathe of Dillon's chamber music.

Well,... they're not really beating the door down making Dillon records though, are they?


Offline CaramelJones

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #5 on: August 01, 2010, 03:24:04 AM »
His string quartets have a wispy elusive character.  I'm not quite into them as big as I am with his solo cello sonata. 


That is really awesome! Music for the bowels to hum to...

snyprrr

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #6 on: August 01, 2010, 06:15:50 AM »
Now I notice that I have his solo violin, solo viola, and solo cello pieces too,...cool! Dillon does appear to be an Arditti creation. Good for him!

Offline Brewski

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2011, 05:21:28 AM »
In September, Miller Theatre (at Columbia University) will open its season with the United States premiere of Dillon's Nine Rivers, presented over three nights, with the International Contemporary Ensemble and The Crossing. Info here:

http://www.millertheatre.com/Events/EventDetails.aspx?nid=1469

Looking forward to this very much since I've not heard any of Dillon's music.

--Bruce

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~Iannis Xenakis

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snyprrr

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2011, 12:10:15 PM »
Just another shameless plug for SQ No.2. Much less drier than Ferneyhough,... the visual analogy would be a magical forest,... lots of scurrying 'Insect' and 'Night' Musics,... same amount of notes, but just very gripping in its imaginative evocation.

Anyone have the Soadie Waste Piano Quintet? Or SQ No.3? (petr!!)

Offline Brewski

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #9 on: September 22, 2011, 11:34:05 AM »
Dillon's Nine Rivers was a trifle overwhelming. Here is my review of the three nights. I must say, quite an experience.

--Bruce
"Do you realize that we're meteorites; almost as soon as we're born, we have to disappear?"

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

5against4

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #10 on: October 30, 2011, 01:10:18 AM »
For anyone interested in Dillon's Nine Rivers, i'm currently in the throes of exploring all nine pieces, with recordings from Glasgow's world première last year.

The first two articles are here:
http://5-against-4.blogspot.com/2011/10/james-dillon-nine-rivers-world-premiere.html
http://5-against-4.blogspot.com/2011/10/james-dillon-nine-rivers-world-premiere_30.html

Offline petrarch

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #11 on: October 30, 2011, 02:22:14 AM »
For anyone interested in Dillon's Nine Rivers, i'm currently in the throes of exploring all nine pieces, with recordings from Glasgow's world première last year.

The first two articles are here:
http://5-against-4.blogspot.com/2011/10/james-dillon-nine-rivers-world-premiere.html
http://5-against-4.blogspot.com/2011/10/james-dillon-nine-rivers-world-premiere_30.html

Thanks, good stuff. Noticed the links on the right to Monty Adkins and Alva Noto (among others), of whom I too am an avid follower.
//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

5against4

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #12 on: October 30, 2011, 04:20:16 AM »
Ah yes, well i've discussed Alva Noto occasionally on 5:4, & i'd like to do something on Monty Adkins too when time allows. i love his earlier stuff (as Mathew) but am finding his latest album absolutely intoxicating.

snyprrr

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #13 on: November 01, 2011, 11:47:06 AM »
Noticed there isn't a topic dedicated to scottish composer James Dillon. Usually thought of as belonging to the New Complexity 'school' (alongside e.g. Brian Ferneyhough), Dillon's music, although certainly complex and 'overwritten', is more Varesian and his gestures at times remind me of Xenakis.

I was always fascinated by Dillon's music ever since I got the Helle Nacht/Ignis Noster (both pieces are for orchestra) CD in the mid-90s, along with the other release on Montaigne of solo and chamber music performed by the ensemble Accroche Note. At the time I was deeply into chamber music with a special focus on string quartets (so I grabbed all I could of the Arditti releases on Montaigne), but Dillon's full on orchestral works amazed me greatly, and continue to do so.

Compared to Ferneyhough, Dillon is as complex, but there is an added sense of fluidity and continuity that paradoxically makes it 'easier on the ears' despite the density. It's an organic kind of irregularity, one that feels like there is a sheen integrating the disparate sonorities into a cohesive unit, somehow halfway between Scelsi and Ferneyhough if such a thing is imaginable--or really like Varèse would sound in 1980.

His chamber works are worth a listen too: From Siorram for solo viola that is at times like a Tetras reduction for a single instrument and at others like the drone strings of some renaissance music, to East 11th St NY for percussion which is a natural heir for Ionisation of 50 years before, Dillon's music is captivating, polished and rewarding.

I have 4 CDs of his music, and will add a few more to my wish list.

     

     

How do you feel about the Accroche Note disc these days? I'm just not wanting to have to get it... again. I mean,... I'm just trying to save a little money here, haha, and I'm sure there's nothing surprising... I did forget if the piano piece Spleen was any good, but, it seems to just all remind me of the similar disc for Dusapin. Accroche Note is a BlackHole I have fallen into that I'm trying to convince myself I'm really not all that in to, haha. Save me!! :o :P :-* ;) ;D

Offline petrarch

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//p
The music collection.
The hi-fi system: Esoteric X-03SE -> Pathos Logos -> Analysis Audio Amphitryon.
A view of the whole

Offline Leggiero

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #15 on: November 25, 2016, 04:03:09 AM »
Anyone have their ear to the ground re: a potential studio recording of Stabat Mater Dolorosa? After hearing it live, I listened to it avidly while it was on iPlayer, but, of course, that was nearly two years ago now. As an alternative, does anyone have an off-air recording from when it was featured on Hear and Now? Normally I'd rely on Simon Cummings of 5against4.com for such things, but I don't think he liked it enough for that (http://5against4.com/2014/11/24/hcmf-2014-james-dillon-simon-steen-andersen-andersen/).

[For anyone who may have happened across a near-identical post to this on another forum, yes, I’m shamelessly repeating myself in the hope of generating further discussion!]

« Last Edit: November 25, 2016, 07:27:46 AM by Leggiero »

Offline 5against4

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #16 on: November 25, 2016, 02:19:02 PM »
Anyone have their ear to the ground re: a potential studio recording of Stabat Mater Dolorosa? After hearing it live, I listened to it avidly while it was on iPlayer, but, of course, that was nearly two years ago now. As an alternative, does anyone have an off-air recording from when it was featured on Hear and Now? Normally I'd rely on Simon Cummings of 5against4.com for such things, but I don't think he liked it enough for that (http://5against4.com/2014/11/24/hcmf-2014-james-dillon-simon-steen-andersen-andersen/).

[For anyone who may have happened across a near-identical post to this on another forum, yes, I’m shamelessly repeating myself in the hope of generating further discussion!]
i'm not sure i'll get to it... promise...

Offline Leggiero

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Re: James Dillon (1950-)
« Reply #17 on: November 25, 2016, 02:36:09 PM »
i'm not sure i'll get to it... promise...

I refer you to my reply on the Mark Simpson thread, Simon...  :-[

Offline Leggiero

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Why do I need a subject?@
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2017, 01:04:40 PM »
Anyone have their ear to the ground re: a potential studio recording of Stabat Mater Dolorosa? After hearing it live, I listened to it avidly while it was on iPlayer, but, of course, that was nearly two years ago now. As an alternative, does anyone have an off-air recording from when it was featured on Hear and Now? Normally I'd rely on Simon Cummings of 5against4.com for such things, but I don't think he liked it enough for that (http://5against4.com/2014/11/24/hcmf-2014-james-dillon-simon-steen-andersen-andersen/).

[For anyone who may have happened across a near-identical post to this on another forum, yes, I’m shamelessly repeating myself in the hope of generating further discussion!]

Update: I owe a debt of gratitude to the individual who uploaded it to the Art-Music Forum for me.