Author Topic: "New" Music Log  (Read 100767 times)

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Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #260 on: March 11, 2016, 09:38:35 AM »
I'm excited for the NYPO/Gilbert's next CD, which comes out in April - new symphonies by Christopher Rouse.

That should be interesting. I heard a broadcast of the 3rd Symphony some time ago and liked it (discussed it on the Rouse thread). I find Rouse very uneven, but this one sounded solid to me.
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #261 on: March 11, 2016, 10:13:03 AM »
I find Rouse very uneven . . . .

I do as well. In fact, the one piece I can endorse without qualification is Gorgon, which uses the hammer to even greater effect than Mahler 6, and is about as over-the-top as any music I know. One thing I find amazing about Rouse is that he apparently composes with rock music blaring or the Jerry Springer show on. When I was a composition major at Oberlin in the class of 1970, Rouse was one year behind me and his interest in rock music at the time made him appear kind of suspect among the students. Of course, he became Christopher Rouse, and let's just say I didn't . . . .
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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #262 on: March 11, 2016, 10:27:18 AM »
Hah!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Archaic Torso of Apollo

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #263 on: March 11, 2016, 10:31:30 AM »
One thing I find amazing about Rouse is that he apparently composes with rock music blaring or the Jerry Springer show on.

Well, the great composers have traditionally drawn from the pop culture of their times. And so have the not-so-great composers...
formerly VELIMIR (before that, Spitvalve)

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

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #264 on: March 11, 2016, 11:05:45 AM »
Bloom where you're planted, they say . . . .
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Brian

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #265 on: March 11, 2016, 11:17:31 AM »
I do as well. In fact, the one piece I can endorse without qualification is Gorgon, which uses the hammer to even greater effect than Mahler 6, and is about as over-the-top as any music I know. One thing I find amazing about Rouse is that he apparently composes with rock music blaring or the Jerry Springer show on. When I was a composition major at Oberlin in the class of 1970, Rouse was one year behind me and his interest in rock music at the time made him appear kind of suspect among the students. Of course, he became Christopher Rouse, and let's just say I didn't . . . .
Wow. Can't imagine getting music from your brain to paper while there's other music blaring in the background. That must require a mental facility that my brain is missing.

I love the Flute Concerto, or at least, did the last time I heard it. Now listening again to confirm. There's a particularly touching story about the Flute Concerto, from recording magnate Robert von Bahr:
Here is BIS CEO Robert von Bahr talking about the Flute Concerto:

"OK, time for a personal confession. When I was laid up on the cut-up table for an operation for pancreatic cancer (which, after the very extensive operation, it was ascertained that I didn't have in the first place...) I had negotiated with the doctors' team that I was allowed to listen to something when they put me under - against regulations - this because the operation itself was quite risky and I was stubborn. So I chose the Christopher Rouse Flute Concerto, played by my wife, Sharon Bezaly, the Royal Stockholm PO under Alan Gilbert as the piece I wanted to be the last thing I heard, should I not wake up. In a similar situation I would still choose that piece, a requiem over a small British boy that was tortured to death by two other small boys - a horrible thing. The music is simply fantastic and something I would urge anyone to really listen to, but with closed eyes and mobiles turned off. Music at its very best."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #266 on: March 11, 2016, 11:35:33 AM »
Wow. Can't imagine getting music from your brain to paper while there's other music blaring in the background. That must require a mental facility that my brain is missing.

I love the Flute Concerto, or at least, did the last time I heard it. Now listening again to confirm. There's a particularly touching story about the Flute Concerto, from recording magnate Robert von Bahr:

Well, though I don't think so, maybe I'm misremembering about composing to rock music. I can't find any confirmation right now, other than the fact that Rouse was always strongly devoted to rock, and that's how I remember him (though I never knew him at age 18 other than to say hello). But from the NYTimes: "Asked about their daily routines, the four advisory composers could say only what worked for them: in Mr. Rouse's case, composing while half-listening to the ''Jerry Springer Show.'' Television, he explained, kept his adrenaline level up."

I have that flute concerto and will try it again.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #267 on: March 11, 2016, 11:37:50 AM »
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Brian

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #268 on: March 11, 2016, 12:17:08 PM »
I haven't met Karl in person, but I hope that he really does laugh in one single, gigantically loud Hah!

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #269 on: March 11, 2016, 02:00:54 PM »
I haven't met Karl in person, but I hope that he really does laugh in one single, gigantically loud Hah!

Only on special occasions.

(But you're probably off to Seattle by now.)
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Brian

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #270 on: March 21, 2016, 12:34:56 PM »
First time ever listening to music by Joseph Bodin de Boismortier.



According to the booklets, Boismortier wasn't a court musician, or a virtuoso, nor did he receive many commissions - he was writing purely for profit. Well, bully, I say. "No man but a blockhead ever wrote, except for money."

Ballets de Village is accordingly a series of ultra-charming, high-energy rustic suites, here performed on an eclectic range of period instruments, including the hurdy-gurdy and the musette (which is the droning thing that sounds a lot like a bagpipe). The "Simphonie francoise" is less colorful, because it's limited to a more conventional ensemble, but it still shows a lot of imagination (there's a movement called "Choeur imaginaire"). I love the sarabande flute trio.

The next CD starts with a chaconne from Daphnis et Chloe, which Le Concert Spirituel later recorded in full for the Glossa label (sadly this is not streaming on NML). This is more glorious baroque music - honestly, I think anybody who loves listening to Rameau, or Handel's Water Music, would love this stuff. "Fragments melodiques" brings back the hurdy-gurdy and musette, and have I mentioned that Le Concert Spirituel is a wonderful-sounding HIP band? Like the OAE or Anima Eterna, their ensemble sound is am attraction on its own.

The Fragments are another suite of simple pleasures and bright, chipper, major-key amusements, showing considerable invention and populist joviality. (Was Boismortier the 1700s Johann Strauss?) (Knowing the low reputation Strauss has on this board, maybe I shouldn't say that!) I'd love to hear our French GMGers explicate the piece called "Entrée des génies élémentaires". Not knowing anything of the plot of the opera from which it is taken - an opera Google has no information or synopses on - I can only assume it's about a bunch of clever children, or maybe the first-year wizards at Hogwarts. ;)

Bunches of fun.

One side note: there's a pleasant irony to the location of the old church (Notre Dame des Bon Secours) in which these two CDs were recorded. It's in the 14e, Paris - right along Rue Giordano Bruno.

Having enjoyed this stuff, I decided to try a bit of Boismortier's flute music. There's a solo suite on this album:



In E minor, and more formal/Bachian than the orchestral music. Slight at only 10 minutes, but it's hard to listen to anything Sharon Bezaly does and be unsatisfied.

Now, Boismortier also wrote a few "concertos" (quintets) for five flutes! This seems like a truly unique instrumentation, and I decided I had to hear at least one or two of 'em. There is a Concert Spirituel album on Naxos, and Accent has a formidable all-star HIP lineup including a Kuijken and a Hantai, but I decided to go with this...



...because that cover photograph is just plain ridiculous. I mean, geez. And it's not Clas Pehrsson's most ridiculous album art, oh no, not by a long shot:



Uh, anyway, back to Boismortier, right?

That first Pehrsson disc up there has "Concertos" 4 and 6. Each is 8 minutes long and in minor keys (B minor and E minor). Here they're played on recorders. The first starts with a canonic adagio, a pretty superb movement of music that at 2:25 is precisely the right length. The rest is a little more generic - and the sound of five recorders can get monotonous.

Overall, though, I'd say this exploration is a rousing success. The orchestral music seems most promising!

Offline Jo498

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #271 on: March 21, 2016, 01:00:55 PM »
Just guessing, but "génies élémentaires" could be "spirits of the elements", "elementals", like the ones you summon in role playing game (Faust tries them as well when treating with Mephistopheles in guise of a black poodle)
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #272 on: March 21, 2016, 01:49:21 PM »
I'd love to hear our French GMGers explicate the piece called "Entrée des génies élémentaires". Not knowing anything of the plot of the opera from which it is taken - an opera Google has no information or synopses on - I can only assume it's about a bunch of clever children, or maybe the first-year wizards at Hogwarts. ;)

Dude, how's your French?

http://operabaroque.fr/BOISMORTIER_VOYAGES.htm
http://imslp.org/wiki/Les_Voyages_de_l'Amour,_Op.60_(Boismortier,_Joseph_Bodin_de)

Hogwarts wizards enter on pp. 77 of the imslp score (Act Two), though what the hell they're doing there I have no idea. In the opera, Cupid comes to earth in disguise and visits a village, a town, and the court to find someone who loves him sincerely. Apparently it wasn't a success and wasn't repeated.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Jo498

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #273 on: March 21, 2016, 02:06:15 PM »
It's apparently a scene where one lover consults an astrologer and in his grotto or cave the elementals appear:

On voit arriver les Génies élémentaires, Sylphes [air], Gnômes [earth], Ondains [water], Salamandres [fire].
Struck by the sounds before the sun,
I knew the night had gone.
The morning breeze like a bugle blew
Against the drums of dawn.
(Bob Dylan)

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #274 on: March 21, 2016, 02:12:00 PM »
It's apparently a scene where one lover consults an astrologer and in his grotto or cave the elementals appear:

On voit arriver les Génies élémentaires, Sylphes [air], Gnômes [earth], Ondains [water], Salamandres [fire].

Ah. Once we put our heads together, all mysteries are solved.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline Brian

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #275 on: March 21, 2016, 06:12:11 PM »
Thanks! 'Tis a luxury having a cultured community like this that will read my listening-habit-ramblings.

(Also, I do love early 1700s opera/ballet scenarios. They're so relentlessly fanciful.)

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #276 on: March 21, 2016, 06:22:04 PM »
Thanks! 'Tis a luxury having a cultured community like this that will read my listening-habit-ramblings.

We'll send our bill.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #277 on: March 22, 2016, 03:05:50 AM »
Let fancy play without relent!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
Composer & Clarinetist
Boston MA
http://www.karlhenning.com/
[Matisse] was interested neither in fending off opposition,
nor in competing for the favor of wayward friends.
His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Brian

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #278 on: May 26, 2016, 10:18:22 AM »
"One work that you'd like fellow GMG members to discover."



Jean-Michel Damase is a French composer born in the 1920s and still around. He was pointed out to me by GMG's own vandermolen. The '50s Piano Sonata is objectively weird: a blend of Bartók, jazz, and (at the ends of the last two movements) a little bit of easy-listening nicety. I kinda liked it, most of the time, while recognizing that it's kind of a bizarre piece. The 1977 Eight Etudes are overtly jazzy, but not as aggressively fake-jazz as Kapustin's stuff. There's a light touch, and they're just plain fun. I'd love to have them in my repertoire if I was playing piano on Saturday nights at a wine bar. The 1991 Sonatine ain't Ravel, and it could have been written in 1921, but it's okay.



Damase's Concertino for Harp and Strings, on the other hand...yikes. Simplistic, amateurish orchestration; basically only one melody repeated ad infinitum over 13 minutes. Bad, bad, bad. Sylvia Kowalczuk is a good performer, though, and the conductor's name is fun.

Next up: recommended by EigenUser, "Ars Moriendi":



Starts out with the same chord repeated over and over, very slowly. At 2:05, I was reaching to turn the piece off in frustration when the cello finally entered doing something else, which caused a rush of happiness just because finally, something happened! Over the rest of the 25 minutes, things do happen with regularity, and some of them are things/harmonies that I like a lot, but not enough to listen twice. The ending came as a relief, honestly. I wish I could pluck out a few excerpts to form a mini-string quartet.

Next up: recommended by Bruce. Surely I've heard this piece before, right? I must have listened in college a couple times?! If so, it's disqualified from this thread. Tsk tsk.



Left: Bang on a Can (45:30); right: Grand Valley State University New Music Ensemble (20:43)...slightly different track timings.

Groovy  8) As many GMGers know, the performers can move from one phrase to the next, or repeat, at their will, and the result is a huge allowance for spontaneity and repetition. Bang on a Can takes 45 minutes and GVSU takes 21, but that doesn't mean Bang on a Can is playing more slowly - this is a pretty fast, upbeat, high energy piece, and in some places you really appreciate it when the intensity dials back just a little bit. I will say that, by the end, I was ready for the experience to be over.

Putting the GVSU recording on immediately afterwards - 70 minutes of Riley! - was risky, but in different performances this essentially becomes a different piece, and the GVSU scoring is more percussive, more immediate. This is in-your-face, but, like, a nice person getting in your face, not a mean person. Patterns emerge and fade much more quickly, and all in all there's an electrical energy that only seems to intensify. If you only have 20 minutes to spend with a minimalist masterpiece, you sure ain't missing out. In fact I think I prefer it this way... (GVSU's Music for 18 Musicians is terrific too.)

Nominated by North Star:



Abel Decaux's Clairs de lune. After the frantic hyperactive energy of In C, the slow, soft, impressionistic Decaux is as opposite as you can get. It's also stunningly modern for four miniatures that were done by 1907. They remind me of Schoenberg's little piano pieces, or very late Scriabin, or maybe some of the Debussy etudes.

Speaking of giant contrasts, here comes Rinaldo's pick:



Never heard of Albicastro before at all. But this is sheer baroque bliss. Ahhhh  0:) 0:) 8)

Tomorrow!
- Britten's cello sonata
- Arnold's Ninth Symphony (going out of order here; I recently first-listened to 1-4)
- Marenzio's "Solo e pensoso"
- Schoeck's "Elegie" (this might be disqualified from the thread too; I may have heard it before)
- Schmitt's Symphonie concertante
- Hovhaness's Symphony No. 50 "Mount St. Helens"
- Machaut's Nostre Dame Mass

Offline (poco) Sforzando

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Re: "New" Music Log
« Reply #279 on: May 26, 2016, 10:39:03 AM »


Damase's Concertino for Harp and Strings, on the other hand...yikes. Simplistic, amateurish orchestration; basically only one melody repeated ad infinitum over 13 minutes. Bad, bad, bad. Sylvia Kowalczuk is a good performer, though, and the conductor's name is fun.


Somehow the idea of hearing Gershwin on the harp is more than I think I can handle (though he might be interesting on a quartet of contrabassoons), so I'll leave it to you. But as for my own pick, much as I love the Marenzio, I wish I had changed that to the Shapero Symphony or Meyer Kupferman's Little Symphony. Or for that matter the thrilling "Caressant l'Horizon" by the young Catalan composer Hèctor Parra. Make of that what you will.
"I don't know what sforzando means, though it clearly means something."