Author Topic: William Bolcom  (Read 1702 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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William Bolcom
« on: September 04, 2013, 06:02:20 AM »
This composer seems to lack his own thread, and a couple of recent events piqued my interest in him. So here goes.

I heard a string quartet play 3 rags he had adapted for that medium (apparently there are a lot more where they came from). Then I picked up a Nonesuch LP (never re-released) featuring his organ/percussion work Black Host. This is some weird, creepy music. It starts out in slow organ-horror movie mode, then comes a fast section blending some ragtime, manipulated electronic noises (people shouting, etc), and percussive bangs! Wild stuff here.

Other than these interesting examples, I've not heard anything from him. Thoughts?
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snyprrr

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Re: William Bolcom THE BOLCOM-OVER
« Reply #1 on: September 06, 2013, 06:18:32 AM »
THE BOLCOM-OVER!!

There's that old Argo disc and the NewWorld disc with the Symphonies that I haven't heard yet.

He's one of those prolific ones that has too much stuff so you don't know where to start (though I'd try those two albums above first). He's into 'rags' a lot; isn't he the one who re-discovered that stuff?

Mr. Americana?

Some Film Music too I believe...

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: William Bolcom THE BOLCOM-OVER
« Reply #2 on: September 06, 2013, 07:44:19 AM »
He's into 'rags' a lot; isn't he the one who re-discovered that stuff?


Yeah, I think so. I am interested in hearing more of his rags; the first impression was positive. I also have a record of him playing Gershwin on the piano. It's pretty good.

Black Host does sound like a very 60s-ish composition, with its electronics and bows to "let it all hang out" psychedelics.
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Offline lescamil

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #3 on: September 06, 2013, 09:03:15 AM »
It would be unfair to say that Bolcom "rediscovered" the rag. He would probably be the first to point you toward his late friend William Albright, who has his share of "revived" rags (and I like his a lot better, honestly). However, I do have a soft spot for Bolcom's Ghost Rags, especially The Poltergeist. Take a listen (and a watch) to this great performance:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YGov3KG1JCE
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #4 on: September 06, 2013, 09:16:38 AM »
his late friend William Albright, who has his share of "revived" rags

Interesting to know. The flip side of Black Host is some organ music by Albright. I'd never heard of him before. Will plan to give it a listen soon.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

"Who knows not strict counterpoint, lives and dies an ignoramus" - CPE Bach

kyjo

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2013, 10:01:22 AM »
Bolcom is an interesting composer for sure. The eclectic nature nature of his music can be enjoyable but sometimes rather frustrating for me. My favorite works of his come from his serious (but no less eclectic) side: Symphonies 3-5, the VC and the vast Songs of Innocence and Inexperience.

snyprrr

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #6 on: September 08, 2013, 11:08:55 AM »
Bolcom is an interesting composer for sure. The eclectic nature nature of his music can be enjoyable but sometimes rather frustrating for me. My favorite works of his come from his serious (but no less eclectic) side: Symphonies 3-5, the VC and the vast Songs of Innocence and Inexperience.

You have the Argo and NewWorld discs? Aaaand?...

kyjo

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #7 on: September 08, 2013, 11:33:44 AM »
You have the Argo and NewWorld discs? Aaaand?...

......they're great discs which I recommend as introductions to Bolcom's sound-world:

   



I also recommend:

   


Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #8 on: May 16, 2018, 01:20:15 PM »
I just discovered this composer - through his extraordinary Piano Concerto coupled with Bernstein's 'Age of Anxiety' on Hyperion. Its a mad hotch-potch of styles, at times showing the influence of Charles Ives, Gershwin, Copland and  juxtaposing eloquent and poetic sections (such as the memorable opening) with jazz, dance music, popular American songs etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and would like to discover more of this composer:


I like this CD very much, not least for the wonderful Edward Hopper painting on the front.
« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 01:21:48 PM by vandermolen »
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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #9 on: May 16, 2018, 01:44:05 PM »
I just discovered this composer - through his extraordinary Piano Concerto coupled with Bernstein's 'Age of Anxiety' on Hyperion. Its a mad hotch-potch of styles, at times showing the influence of Charles Ives, Gershwin, Copland and  juxtaposing eloquent and poetic sections (such as the memorable opening) with jazz, dance music, popular American songs etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and would like to discover more of this composer:

Interesting. They're doing his 4th Symphony and part of the 5th on the same concert at Grant Park this summer. Haven't heard either one - anyone here know 'em?

Quote
I like this CD very much, not least for the wonderful Edward Hopper painting on the front.

Ah yes, Nighthawks. I have a print of it hanging right here in my home office  :)
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Offline Cato

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #10 on: May 16, 2018, 03:06:56 PM »
I just discovered this composer - through his extraordinary Piano Concerto coupled with Bernstein's 'Age of Anxiety' on Hyperion. Its a mad hotch-potch of styles, at times showing the influence of Charles Ives, Gershwin, Copland and  juxtaposing eloquent and poetic sections (such as the memorable opening) with jazz, dance music, popular American songs etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and would like to discover more of this composer:


I like this CD very much, not least for the wonderful Edward Hopper painting on the front.

In the good ol' days William Bolcom was pretty big!  He had several works for his wife, an opera singer named Joan Morris:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/kYfU1t5YwoY" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/kYfU1t5YwoY</a>

COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

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Offline kyjo

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #11 on: May 16, 2018, 03:22:10 PM »
I just discovered this composer - through his extraordinary Piano Concerto coupled with Bernstein's 'Age of Anxiety' on Hyperion. Its a mad hotch-potch of styles, at times showing the influence of Charles Ives, Gershwin, Copland and  juxtaposing eloquent and poetic sections (such as the memorable opening) with jazz, dance music, popular American songs etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and would like to discover more of this composer:


I like this CD very much, not least for the wonderful Edward Hopper painting on the front.

Sounds quite interesting, Jeffrey! I know Bolcom’s Symphony no. 8 for chorus and orchestra, which also contains a “garden variety” of styles. There are some passages which are overly dissonant for my tastes, but overall it’s a really enjoyable, exciting, and unique work. It’s available on this CD:

« Last Edit: May 16, 2018, 03:36:04 PM by kyjo »
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Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #12 on: May 16, 2018, 08:46:47 PM »
Thanks guys for the responses and Leo for the musical extract. I found a second hand copy on the Violin Concerto (which sounded really rather good on You Tube) and Symphony 5 ( seen above in an earlier post by Kyle) remarkably on an inexpensive Argo CD. I agree Kyle that rather forbidding moments are juxtaposed with poetic music and yes I love that 'Nighthawks' painting by Hopper.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline springrite

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #13 on: May 16, 2018, 09:36:02 PM »
Rags? I am thinking more cabaret.

 
Do what I must do, and let what must happen happen.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #14 on: May 17, 2018, 11:43:04 AM »
Also, the performance of 'The Age of Anxiety' is very good on the Hyperion CD. The Bolcom Piano Concerto has, however, been a major discovery for me. I love the way that it opens up, after the Bernstein work - as the jazzy/bluesy ostinato insinuates its way into one's consciousness.
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Cato

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #15 on: May 17, 2018, 01:19:03 PM »
I just discovered this composer - through his extraordinary Piano Concerto coupled with Bernstein's 'Age of Anxiety' on Hyperion. Its a mad hotch-potch of styles, at times showing the influence of Charles Ives, Gershwin, Copland and  juxtaposing eloquent and poetic sections (such as the memorable opening) with jazz, dance music, popular American songs etc. Anyway, I really enjoyed it and would like to discover more of this composer:


I like this CD very much, not least for the wonderful Edward Hopper painting on the front.

Behold the glory of Classical Music: American composers, a pianist from Quebec, an Irish orchestra, and a conductor from Azerbaijan!  8) How cool is that?!  8)
COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #16 on: May 17, 2018, 08:16:03 PM »
Behold the glory of Classical Music: American composers, a pianist from Quebec, an Irish orchestra, and a conductor from Azerbaijan!  8) How cool is that?!  8)

Very cool indeed Leo! Thanks for pointing that out.
 :)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline vandermolen

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #17 on: May 17, 2018, 08:18:52 PM »
Behold the glory of Classical Music: American composers, a pianist from Quebec, an Irish orchestra, and a conductor from Azerbaijan!  8) How cool is that?!  8)
Also a British CD label., 8)
"Courage is going from failure to failure without losing enthusiasm" (Churchill).

Offline Cato

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2018, 02:48:56 PM »
Also a British CD label., 8)

Just part of the special relationship!  8)

And thanks to YouTube:

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/dZxoAIlXiq0" target="_blank" class="new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/dZxoAIlXiq0</a>

COWBOY (sitting down to a poker game for the first time): "Is this a game of chance?!"

- W. C. FIELDS  (as Cuthbert Twillie): "Uhh, not the way I play it, no." in  My Little Chickadee.

ComposerOfAvantGarde

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Re: William Bolcom
« Reply #19 on: May 19, 2018, 03:20:05 AM »
I have seen this name floating around and I have wondered a bit about this composer. It seems quite well and good for the fans to discuss recordings, but I would be interested to know what the fans can tell us (the unenlightened 8) ) about Bolcom.