Author Topic: "New" Music Log  (Read 58054 times)

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Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #20 on: May 12, 2007, 09:18:15 PM »
Thanks Todd. Your reviews are always interesting and helpful.

If you want to get into Debussy's piano music some more, you MUST buy this set:

If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline The new erato

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #21 on: May 13, 2007, 01:04:11 AM »
Any comments on the sound on this? No dubt on artistic quality though.

Offline XB-70 Valkyrie

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #22 on: May 13, 2007, 03:22:51 AM »
These range from terrible to decent. The first two CDs have a disclaimer saying that the historical value of these recordings makes them worthwhile despite lousy sound quality. The worst ones include the Beethoven Sonata no 3, Three Chopin Mazurkas, Mozart and Schumann piano ctos. The other ones I've heard so far are all OK IMO. Given the fact that these are all live recordings made in various venues over a long span of time, I doubt that the sound quality would be much better on other (much more expensive) releases on other labels. Still, for about $40, you're getting 10 CDs with some very interesting material. The Debussy preludes are actually not bad sounding at all (in terms of sound quality). I've still not listened to the other 7 CDs in this set.

You might encounter a problem obtaining these. The first set (on Membran), I just happened to find in a bookstore in Victoria BC (Canada) back in July of last year. The other set (pictured above), I had to order through a local retailer, but it took about three months to arrive. (Amazon didn't carry them.)
« Last Edit: May 13, 2007, 03:29:04 AM by XB-70 Valkyrie »
If you really dislike Bach you keep quiet about it! - Andras Schiff

Offline The new erato

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #23 on: May 13, 2007, 04:39:17 AM »
currently listed on mdt.co.uk

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #24 on: May 13, 2007, 05:54:14 AM »
If you want to get into Debussy's piano music some more, you MUST buy this set:


Already covered on the Gaspard thread, but here goes: Already did!  And it's companion 10-disc set.  Arkiv had them on sale for $15 each last month or the month before, so I figured $30 for 20 discs of Michelangeli - how could I go wrong?  I already had six individual discs from the set, including the complete Preludes (to augment the studio DG recordings), but those discs found a deserving home.  Sound is variable, with poor sound marring an otherwise deliciously sinister (in a cartoon-ish way) Liszt firs piano concerto on the one hand, but a fine Carnaval on the others.  Anyway, both sets should still be at Arkiv.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #25 on: May 13, 2007, 08:14:00 AM »



I was so impressed by the Naxos ďsamplerĒ of various works by Conlon Nancarrow that I determined I should hear more of his music as soon as possible.  With this composer that means one thing: his Studies for Player Piano.  Now, at first glance, the idea of listening to dozens of studies for a comparatively poor sounding instrument that, by its very nature, lacks any intimate, human artistic element in its utilization may seem a bit daunting or even downright uninteresting.  (The problem regarding sound can probably be overcome by recordings on MDG, which use a customized BŲsendorfer.)  Whereís the emotion in such music to be found?  Itís all so mechanical, right? 

Not so right.  From the outset itís clear that Nancarrowís works for player piano are almost certainly as good as can be written for that instrument.  Itís also clear that the music is anything but mechanical.  Itís funny and probing and invigorating and challenging.  Itís so human.  It has been freed of the limitations of human digital dexterity.  The only limit is the imagination of the composer.  And that seems almost boundless.  Through the course of the dozens of studies, Nancarrow displays an amazing range.  He throws in so many ideas, tries so many things, explores rhythmic patterns that cannot otherwise be realized, and so expertly probes the possibilities of aleatoric music, that by the end the listener is left more than a little dazed.  How to assimilate all the music?  One canít, at least not in a few sittings, or perhaps many sittings.  Thereís so much on offer.  Indeed, one canít possibly cover the highlights of five discs of nothing but highlights.  Whether one considers the seemingly simple repeated patterns in some works, or the impossibly insistent and steady notes that flow through entire works (think one note repeated permanently at exactly the right tempo even though literally thousands of notes flurry around it), or the dizzying paths some of the music takes, itís all so much.  And then when one ends up listening to the third ďmovementĒ of the three part study 41, for two player pianos, where thousands upon thousands of notes per minute (perhaps an exaggeration, but only slightly) come hurling out of the speakers in a precise yet potentially random fashion (depending on just how one syncs up the two pianos), one can only marvel at such creative genius.  Yes, genius. 

This set cements Conlon Nancarrowís standing for me: heís among the greats of the 20th Century.  His music is unique, and thereís just so much there.  Were I a musicologist, I could probably devote years to analyzing the music.  Iíd rather listen to it, though.  Iíd rather listen to the myriad ideas bursting out of the archaic, almost silly instrument.  Nothing else is like it.  This is an amazing set, certainly one of the best purchases of the year for me, and one I shall return to time and again.  If you are even remotely adventurous, do consider some of this music.  The set is available in separate volumes, and as referred to before, MDG is recording a ďcompetingĒ cycle played on a BŲsendorfer.  Iím pretty sure Iíll be getting that, too. 

Sound is close and dry and analytical and reveals everything.  While I was able to listen to two discs straight through, I usually had to split up listening sessions to allow for some aural relaxation.  But I always came back for more. 

Amazing stuff.


The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

dtwilbanks

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #26 on: May 13, 2007, 08:22:10 AM »
Thanks for that, Todd. This is a thread I always check.

Your post on Nancarrow and player pianos brings Zappa to mind. As a side note here, when Frank Zappa got fed up with musicians who were too expensive, not talented or not interested enough in his music, he began composing on the synclavier, which is some sort of programmable synthesizer, I guess. I believe he has several recordings using this instrument. For what it's worth, here's a video of him composing.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=77pDQceiUus

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #27 on: May 13, 2007, 08:46:01 AM »
Ah, yes, Mr Zappa - what a guy.  I'm more partial to his pop/rock stuff (Joe's Garage is a classic!), but I have a very young Kent Nagano leading a disc of his music from the early 80s as well as Jazz from Hell (complete with the original G-spot Tornado) which is an all synclavier disc.  Stylistically, I'd have to say Nancarrow is more sophisticated and unique; Zappa tended to be derivative outside of rock music, and seemed to rather like serial-era Stravinsky.  For good reason.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

BorisG

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #28 on: May 13, 2007, 02:23:49 PM »
That's a young Val Kilmer in the great comedy Top Secret!

I thought it might be. Lately, Val is sporting a very large beer belly.

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #29 on: May 19, 2007, 03:39:35 PM »



I so enjoyed the third volume of Sonia Rubinskyís ongoing series dedicated to Heitor Villa-Lobosí piano music that I figured I ought to try another disc.  I opted to back up one and try volume 2.  A wise choice.

The disc opens with three small pieces Ė A Lenda do Caboclo, Ondulando, and Valsa da Dor Ė all of which make fine if short representations of the composerís style.  The first and last pieces are lovely but somber, the third even more so.  (When itís not a fine waltz, that is.)  The second work is a fine little etude.

Moving to the meat of the disc finds the second of Villa-Lobosí suites entitled A Prole do BebÍ, or The Babyís Family.  This longer of the two suites encompasses musical evocations of childrenís toys, but only at an abstract level.  Thereís nothing child-like about the music.  Itís sophisticated indeed, replete with myriad textural, tempo, dynamic, and coloristic effects.  One can hear, at times, a sense of wonder at the musical images of the critters, much like what one might assume a child might think about the fanciful traits his or her imagination bestows on said fake critters.  The music is widely and deliciously varied, and it sounds sort of like Debussy and Falla mashed together, combined with a New World flair.  Itís quite something.

The last work is yet another work given over to childrenís themes.  Cirandinhas is a collection of twelve works based on childrenís songs.  Again, the music far transcends the child-like.  While generally lighter and more fun, and even truly delightful, the more somber final two pieces aside, the music is also more rhythmically challenging and exciting.  One can detect a few hints of Prokofiev without listening very hard.  Nothing wrong with that!

As in the previous disc, Ms Rubinsky plays positively splendidly, with subtle (or not so subtle as necessary!) gradations of tempo and dynamics, and here tonal palette is quite impressive.  Superb sound.  A peach of a disc.


The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #30 on: June 03, 2007, 06:35:30 AM »



Iíve always found Bohuslav Martinů to be a reliable composer.  His works may not always be of Great Composer quality Ė though some certainly are Ė but his works always have some interesting ideas and usually sound quite appealing.  So I figured the new Naxos release of his piano quintets would be a safe bet.  So it proved to be.

The disc opens with the first Piano Quintet from 1933.  Despite being labeled a neo-classical work, as played here itís big, sweeping, and more neo-romantic sounding, at least at times.  The opening Poco allegro just carries one along, though it has some mildly jarring dissonances common to the time.  The Andante sounds downright beautiful most of the time, with only milder dissonant music occasionally thrown in.  The Allegretto is quicker and quite forceful, though it remains energetic and upbeat.  The work closes with an Allegro moderato that that maintains the same style to the end, with a few darker moments thrown in.  A very fine piece.

The second piano quintet also opens with a Poco allegro, but this oneís even more sweeping than before.  Itís also more astringent and larger in scale.  It sounds almost quasi-orchestral, rather like some of Brahmsí chamber music, though the music doesnít sound at all like Brahms.  For contrast, some ripe, romantic melodies are thrown in to counter the harsher (though not harsh!) modernity of much of the writing.  The Adagio is simply lovely, with light string writing that almost glows at times.  The Scherzo has a vigorous, fun chase flanking a relaxed middle section, and the final movement alternates between a slow, rich Largo and vibrant Allegro.  Another very fine piece.

The disc closes with the Sonata for Two Violins and Piano from 1932.  This little ditty opens with a carefree and fun Allegro poco moderato, moves on to a darker, somewhat sad, texturally rich Andante, and ends with a vibrant, strongly voiced Allegro.  That makes three fine works.

The artists Ė the Martinů Quartet with Karel KoöŠrek at the piano Ė all play positively splendidly, and the sound is top notch.  In short: An outstanding disc of 20th Century chamber music.



The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Dancing Divertimentian

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #31 on: June 03, 2007, 08:24:57 PM »
Thanks for the thoughtful review, Todd.

As usual, highly informative!

Speaking of the Martinu Quartet, their set of string quartets by their namesake (again on Naxos) makes for another fine bargain.

Glad to hear they're continuing the tradition, here.


Veit Bach-a baker who found his greatest pleasure in a little cittern which he took with him even into the mill and played while the grinding was going on. In this way he had a chance to have the rhythm drilled into him. And this was the beginning of a musical inclination in his descendants. JS Bach

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #32 on: June 04, 2007, 03:09:43 PM »



Iím the first to confess that Iím not much of an Aaron Copland fan.  His ďAmericanaĒ or ďPopulistĒ or at least popular works (whatever you want to call them), in particular, just donít do it for me.  I have heard some of his less popular music, and found that more to my liking, and his opera The Tender Land as conducted by erstwhile local conductor Murry Sidlin at a venue I know is worth a listen or two.  When I saw that Robert Silvermanís 1970s recordings of four of Coplandís piano works had been reissued at Naxos price by Marquis Classics, I figured it couldnít hurt to give old Aaron a shot.

The disc opens with Coplandís piano sonata from 1941, and this work falls squarely into Coplandís modernist compositions.  The piece opens with some nicely appealing, if itís your thing, angular (or spiky or jagged) music played with crisp, hard staccato by Silverman, something heís adept at.  The music and playing eases up a bit after a while, but it doesnít exactly become Rach-like.  It remains dense and difficult.  And thatís just the Molto moderato opening section.  (The work is one long movement.)  The Vivace section sounds a bit lighter, at least for a time, but it remains spiky, and the louder passages come across nicely as Silverman hits them keys hard.  The piece closes with a long Andante sostenuto that manages a very complex trick, and one Iíve heard very rarely: it stays resolutely modern and abstract and difficult, but it also sounds beautiful, at least at times.  Much credit must be given to Silverman for this, of course, but the music does sound attractive and supremely serene.  The music almost pulls off that time-suspension trick, and in some ways it sounds like a modern equivalent of the second movement of LvBís 111.  I still prefer the Bonn masterís work Ė it is, after all, one of the supreme masterpieces of all music Ė but this work exceeded expectations.  Itís quite good and will earn repeated listens.

The rest of the disc isnít up the same standard.  The Passacaglia from 1922 sound very formal and serious and never really offers the type of musical nourishment I hunger for.  Itís rather plain.  The Four Piano Blues, written between 1926 and 1948 for four different pianists including Andor Foldes and William Kapell, are better.  The first is heavy, probing, and deliberate; the second lighter, more lyrical, and more playful; the third sounds beefy yet warm and glowing, while retaining a serious formality; the fourth is rhythmically spry and angular.  All have jazzy elements.  The disc rounds out with The Cat and the Mouse from 1920, which is jaunty, scampering, fun, and fresh, with a broad dynamic range.

This very short disc (46í or so) is thus mostly about the sonata, which is quite a work.  The younger Robert Silverman trumps the older Robert Silverman in terms of technique, and his musical sensibility is assured.  The only problem with the disc is the sound.  Extraneous noises interrupt the music throughout.  I canít tell if itís someone breathing really heavy, or something scraping along the ground or a wall, or just tape distortion or deterioration, or all that and more, but it does become a bit bothersome at times.  So does the occasional post-echo from the analog tapes.  Those caveats aside, this disc proved to be a nice, ear opening experience.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #33 on: June 09, 2007, 06:48:59 AM »


After a few moments I fumbled around my CD pile to make sure I hadnít put in a disc of Dvorakís string quartets rather than Baxís.  The opening Allegretto semplice of the first quartet sounds like nothing if not a lost Dvorak gem, one written while the Czech was on a secret sojourn to the British Isles.  It sounds rhythmically lively, buoyant, fresh, and ďrustic,Ē if you will.  Okay, on to the less Dvorakian Lento e molto expressivo: it sounds beautiful and mushy romantic, with a somewhat forlorn air, a feeling the quieter moments only reinforce.  The concluding Rondo is sunny and rustic like the opener, but here itís more Irish, with some of the music purportedly premised on an Irish folk tune.  The work is quite splendid, even if it sounds like something of an anachronism for its own time. 

The second quartet is more of its time.  The opening Allegro opens with the solo cello immediately establishing a tense, serious mood, a feeling only intensified when the viola enters.  As the movement unwinds, a few lyrical passages offer a rest from the somewhat darker, more dissonant music around it.  (Though one couldnít really call it too intense.)  The Lento, molto espressivo (with espressivo spelled properly) reveals that a proclivity for romantic music hadnít fled Bax by the time he wrote this.  The music is richly layered and sounds achingly beautiful and emotive at times.  The work closes with an Allegro vivace that opens with a transformed take on the first movement, with the whole ensemble going full bore for good sections of the movement.  The movement does alternate between robust, thrusting music, and relaxed, lyrical music, and caps off a fine work.

I really enjoy this disc.  Arnold Baxís first two string quartets are wonderful little works.  If they donít rise to the same level as the greatest examples in this genre, they still deserve to be better known, and are accomplished.  The Maggini Quartet plays splendidly.

SOTA sound.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Bunny

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #34 on: June 10, 2007, 05:43:32 AM »



How does one approach a recording like Lorraine Hunt Liebersonís final recording of orchestral love songs written for her by her husband?  Thereís certainly the potential for hagiography and exaggeration given the tragic circumstances, but I opted just to listen and gauge whether I like the music for what it is.  Previously Iíd only heard the late Mrs Lieberson in two other works: Handelís Theodora under William Christie, and Mahlerís Second under Michael Tilson Thomas.  In both cases she more or less made the recording, the former especially.  In this disc she is the recording.  Everything about it is very clearly meant for her and she delivers the goods.  The disc contains settings of five love poems penned by Pablo Neruda, which the Liebersons selected together.  The great care I imagine they devoted to the project pays off.

The first two names that jumped immediately into my mind within the first few notes are Mahler and Berg.  Since I like Mahler and Berg, thatís quite alright with me.  My first overall impression of the music and performance, and one that stayed as I listened to the whole work, was one of intense, personal music.  These are not necessarily grand orchestral songs, but rather are intimate selections, and Mrs Lieberson nails every song with such delicate nuance and subtle inflection and communicative power that one just sits and revels in the music.  The close miking helps bring out every last expressive gesture in her voice.  The orchestral writing is mostly ďmodern,Ē in an early-20th Century kind of way, though there are more than a few moments of exquisite beauty.  All of the songs work well, with the absolutely wonderful My love, if I die and you donít that closes the disc a rather obvious and moving farewell, which brings to mind Straussí closer to the Four Last Songs.  And this song is as good as that one.  For me, though, the highlight is the third song Ė Donít go far off, not even for a day, because Ė which is a perfect synthesis of text, music, and interpretation.  The winding, gripping music and lyrics set the stage for singing of a very high order indeed.  At times throughout the disc it may be possible to hear hints of excess or self-indulgence, but if there is any subject that not only withstands but benefits from such things, itís love, especially in the circumstances here. 

I very much like this disc.  When it comes to orchestral songs I still prefer some other works Ė by the three other composers mentioned here for starters Ė but this disc is superb.  For me it serves as a primer to explore more of Peter Liebersonís music, and it also obviously stands as a monument to the late Mrs Lieberson.  Hereís a work where it may be fine if no other recordings are ever made.  Really, what would be the point, and who could ever compare?




Well said.  I don't listen to this without the tears as I hear the words,

No estťs lejos de mŪ un solo dŪa, porque cůmo,
porque, no sť decirlo, es largo el dŪa,
y te estarť esperando como en las estaciones
cuando en alguna parte se durmieron los trenes.

No te vayas por una hora porque entonces
en esa hora se juntan las gotas del develo
y tal vez todo el humo que anda buscando casa
venga a matar aķn mi corazůn perdido.


Sublimely beautiful words, music and performance; how rare when all three are present in a single work.
« Last Edit: June 10, 2007, 05:46:01 AM by Bunny »

Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #35 on: June 24, 2007, 07:42:02 AM »



Poor us!  Iíve read a number of laments on the net about how much music fans have lost because Juan Arriaga died at the terribly young age of 19.  He was, or could have been, the next Mozart!  Or something like that.  Since I like string quartets, and since Iíd never heard Mr Arriagaís music before, and since he is apparently all that and then some, I figured the Naxos disc of his string quartets was worth investigating.

It certainly was (and is).  The three quartets all share certain traits in common.  They all, on the whole, sound lively, wonderfully melodic, and energetic.  One could never say they possess the depth of Beethovenís late quartets, or the sophistication of Haydnís quartets from around Op 20 on.  (Or maybe even Op 9 on.)  Nor do they display the absolute melodic mastery displayed by Schubert.  But they do have enough there to warrant further listens.

A bit more detail seems warranted.  The first quartet shows some nice range.  The opening Allegro starts off slightly dark before moving onto more sparkling music, with a beautiful slow movement and jaunty Menuetto to follow.  The closing movement opens with forceful chords reminiscent of Beethoven and, especially, Schubert.  The second quartet is generally lighter and sunnier.  At times, one might get the feeling that the musical development isnít meaty enough, but the effortless lyricism pretty much compensates.  The final quartet is the most substantive of the three.  The opening movement is much the same as other swifter movements on the disc, but in the second movement Pastorale one hears something new.  Or maybe not so new.  It seems a tribute to the rather famous symphony sharing the same name, with itís stormy tremolos.  Thereís no explosive tutti here, of course, but the effect is quite nice.  The Menuetto sounds quite pleasant, and the concluding Presto agitato displays a certain compositional density that some of the other movements display.

Itís not at all hard to really enjoy this disc.  The Camerata Boccherini play splendidly, the sound is superb, and the music is delightful.  Iím not sure I can say that Arriaga could have been the next Mozart or anything like that, but then how could one make such a claim?  I can say that other composers wrote more compelling music while as young or younger.  Mendelssohnís great String Octet, for instance, is superior to these three works, and Mozart wrote a number of better works.  Same for Schubert.  So I guess I canít join the vocal enthusiasts prone to exaggeration.  I can say that I like this disc, will listen to it again, and may even try more of Arriagaís music.  He strikes me as a lightweight Mendelssohn, with all that implies, good and bad. 
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

Offline Brewski

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #36 on: June 26, 2007, 02:08:05 PM »


This set cements Conlon Nancarrowís standing for me: heís among the greats of the 20th Century.  His music is unique, and thereís just so much there.  Were I a musicologist, I could probably devote years to analyzing the music.  Iíd rather listen to it, though.  Iíd rather listen to the myriad ideas bursting out of the archaic, almost silly instrument.  Nothing else is like it.  This is an amazing set, certainly one of the best purchases of the year for me, and one I shall return to time and again.  If you are even remotely adventurous, do consider some of this music.  The set is available in separate volumes, and as referred to before, MDG is recording a ďcompetingĒ cycle played on a BŲsendorfer.  Iím pretty sure Iíll be getting that, too. 

Sound is close and dry and analytical and reveals everything.  While I was able to listen to two discs straight through, I usually had to split up listening sessions to allow for some aural relaxation.  But I always came back for more. 

Amazing stuff.

Just bumping this up with a "thank you and well done" to Todd (somehow I missed it earlier) for calling attention to Nancarrow, whom I would agree is one of the greats.  His exploration of varying meters and textures (many astoundingly difficult to even imagine) not to mention his affinity with jazz, all add up to one of the great bodies of piano literature, even if not playable by a "conventional" pianist.  (Although I have heard at least one of these arranged for piano four-hands, and wouldn't be surprised if some of the others follow suit.) 

I also agree that anyone listening could be excused for not hearing the entire thing straight through -- it's way too intense.  (And the sound is a little dry, but it's good for this particular music.)  But there is a huge amount of imagination on display, and some of his ideas are astonishing. 

--Bruce
Tradition is not the worship of ashes, but the preservation of fire.
     ~ Gustav Mahler

Twitter: @brucehodgesny

gomro

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #37 on: June 26, 2007, 06:04:25 PM »


Hereís a composer new to me.  To the extent Iíd even seen Leonardo Baladaís name before it was only in ads.  Thatís a shame.  I picked up the Naxos disc devoted to his Guernica, Homage to Sarasate, Homage to Casals, Fourth Symphony, and a suite derived from his opera Zapata, appropriately entitled Zapata: Images for Orchestra

In many ways Balada is what Iím looking for in new music, and here that means music from as recent as 1992 (the symphony).  He blends folk music a la Bartok and Ives, intense modernism, and avant garde elements calling to mind Ligeti, among others.  The music on this disc never sounds academic or merely analytical; thereís the spark of life to all of it.  Guernica, from 1966, opens the disc, and the piece is inspired by Picassoís work of the same name, and both depict, rather gruesomely, the Spanish Civil War.  The piece does about as good a job translating the image to music as I can imagine, though perhaps others can imagine a better visual-to-aural transcription.  (If so, they should write it down.)  Itís chaotic and violent and confused and ugly and vibrant, and has the musical equivalent of an explosion right in the middle.  Itís a dense, short work of just over 11 minutes, and while itís not easy listening, itís immensely gripping.

The two homages are more deliberately avant garde, what with spooky high string notes and tremolos and disjointed elements coming and going.  They seem somewhat less focused than the first work, but they are likewise compelling.  The Fourth Symphony is an interesting work in that it was written for Lausanne Chamber Orchestra (hence its title ďLausanneĒ), and contains, the excellent liner notes report, elements of Swiss folk music.  Again, itís a very modernist piece, but one informed by many moments of levity and textural lightness and even beauty.  In some ways, the two homages and the symphony sound the same Ė a critique anti-modernists would no doubt level Ė but thereís much more than enough musical food for thought in each piece.

The final work is the suite derived from Zapata.  What a collection!  The first movement, a Waltz, sounds just like a 19th Century waltz and falls beautifully on the ears, with delicate string writing.  The piece slowly transmogrifies into grotesque, almost chaotic music meant to symbolize a firing squad.  Itís very effective.  The March starts and stays grotesque in the best Expressionist-cum-trippy-avant-garde fashion, at times sounding like (disturbed) cartoon music.  The wonderful Elegy is apparently lifted straight from the opera, with a solo cello taking Zapataís part and a solo violin his dying brotherís part.  The work closes with a Wedding Dance using Jarabe Tapatio (which pretty much everyone knows) as its recurring theme, which Balada then spins out in different directions while weaving in his own music most expertly.  Itís sort of like what Ives did, but more sophisticated.

This is one heck of a disc, and I now know I must explore more of Baladaís music.  Pronto.

Excellent sound.


I don't have this one, but I do have two others:



very fine work. Some of it is more "avant" (in a sort of Lutoslawskian manner, more than any other composer I can think of) than other pieces, but all of it has that pungent touch of folk influence that apparently defines Balada's approach to music.

BorisG

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #38 on: June 29, 2007, 09:42:14 AM »
For the Schnittke-lover, who may have overlooked last year's reissuing.


Offline Todd

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #39 on: July 02, 2007, 03:12:55 PM »



Time for some more.  This time I went for a more recent volume Ė volume four.  This disc opens with the solo piano setting of the fourth Bachianas Brasileiras.  The opening Preludio is quite somber, very serious, and decidedly formal.  And romantic!  It sort of sounds like Bach meets Rach.  The Coral is again quite serious, and is richly textured and comparatively ďheavy.Ē  Rubinsky keeps things moving along quite strictly until after 3í30,Ē when pounding chords juxtapose against tinkly arpeggios and other contrast-y devices until the end.  The Aria alternates between slow, somber music and vigorous, lively music, and the concluding Dansa sounds very much dance like.  Imagine that.

Next up is another of Villa-Lobosí numerous little pieces Ė Poema Singelo.  It sounds lovely and lyrical and romantic Ė almost a little song without words.  Next is another childrenís piece, the Carnaval das Criancas.  The overall demeanor is light and bubbly, but the overall style is decidedly complex.  Modern children, I guess.  After that is yet another childrenís piece, Francette et Pia.  Here the subject is of a little Brazilian boy meeting a little French girl.  A charming conceit, to be sure, and itís charming music charmingly played.  (The ending duets in both this and the preceding piece are as well done as the solo pieces.)  Were Villa-Lobos not so good at writing such works, one could tire of them quickly.  As it is, one cannot.  A series of little pieces finishes off the disc.  A Fiandeira is a lyrical, perpetual motion piece; Simples Cloetanea is itself a collection of three unrelated yet irresistible little pieces; and Valsa Romantica is, you guessed it, a romantic waltz.

As with the prior two discs, sound is superb and Sonia Rubinskyís playing is simply top-notch.  Another winner in the series.
The universe is change; life is opinion.   Marcus Aurelius, Meditations

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