Author Topic: Wuorinen's Whirlygig  (Read 38153 times)

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Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #340 on: September 29, 2019, 10:53:08 AM »
I actually do not think all that much of Time's Encomium:

Hit the Third Piano Concerto, though, instanter!
Karl Henning, Ph.D.
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His only competition was with himself. — Françoise Gilot

Offline Herman

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #341 on: March 13, 2020, 07:22:03 AM »
Sadly, Charles Wuorinen has passed, at age 81.

This is especially sad news for Karl who is a CW student.

Offline ritter

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #342 on: March 13, 2020, 07:32:33 AM »
Sad news indeed. IMHO a truly great composer, many of whose works I enjoy immensely. I could briefly congratulate him (and librettist Annie Proulx) when I managed to slip backstage after the world premiere of the opera Brokeback Mountain here in Madrid in 2014, and he was most gracious.

R.I.P. Charles Wuorinen:(
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Offline San Antone

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #343 on: March 13, 2020, 07:55:00 AM »
Sad news indeed. IMHO a truly great composer,

R.I.P. Charles Wuorinen:(

Truly sad to hear.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #344 on: March 13, 2020, 11:07:04 AM »
Sadly, Charles Wuorinen has passed, at age 81.

This is especially sad news for Karl who is a CW student.

I shall never meet his like again.
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 Herman

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #345 on: March 13, 2020, 11:17:17 AM »
I'm sad for you, Karl.

Offline vers la flamme

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #346 on: March 15, 2020, 09:32:41 AM »
It's too bad I hadn't explored much of his music during his lifetime, but his death has prompted me to begin to explore his music. I've started here:



This sonata is a fascinating work of pure dodecaphonic serialism. I actually find the purity of this work fascinating: it's just a 30 minute sonata for solo piano written with the 12-tone technique. No extended techniques, no electronics, etc. The notes speak for themselves. As for the music itself, I think it's actually quite lyrical and somewhat inviting, especially compared to something like the Boulez sonatas. It's a real monster of a challenge even for the most equipped virtuoso. Props to anyone who can pull it off, and I think there are very few pianists in the world who ever have taken on the whole thing. The performer here is also the dedicatee.

Beyond that, I listened to Time's Encomium and found it fascinating. Apparently Miles Davis was very intrigued by this work, and when I heard that I immediately began hearing parallels between Miles' electric work and what Wuorinen has accomplished here. Immediately fascinated, I went right out and bought the Tzadik disc which features it in remastered format, along with three acoustic (or electroacoustic, not sure) works of chamber music. These all sound like great stuff too. This whole section of music history is terra incognita for me, so it's exciting exploring this stuff with an open mind.

Naxos has recorded many of his works on a handful of discs. I would like to get one of these, too, and then probably call it a day for now; that should be plenty to explore considering the density of his music. Does anyone have any of the discs in these series, that they want to recommend? I'm looking at the one with the String Quartet, String Sextet, and Piano Quintet—his writing in these genres makes me wonder, was Wuorinen a Brahms fan?

Anyone else been listening lately?

Finally, I would like to extend my condolences to Karl Henning, and anyone else whose life was affected by Wuorinen and his music. Rest in power.

Offline Crudblud

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #347 on: March 15, 2020, 09:45:58 AM »
I just heard about Wuorinen's death. One of my favourite pieces of "contemporary" music is his sublime Horn Trio.

Offline schnittkease

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #348 on: March 15, 2020, 10:43:41 AM »
This is very sad news. I was just thinking of buying a CD of his a week or so ago...

Offline CRCulver

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #349 on: March 16, 2020, 11:15:51 AM »
It's too bad I hadn't explored much of his music during his lifetime, but his death has prompted me to begin to explore his music. I've started here:



Wow, that is a recording of the Boulez I had never heard of before, and I have been a collector of Boulez sonata recordings.

It never ceases to irk me when conservative classical music fans like to denigrate serialism and claim that "No one listens to that music", when so many recordings of e.g. the Boulez piano sonata have been released. Wuorinen, too, has got his share of disparagement in responses to the announcement of his death, but one can plainly see that his music has been recorded (on Naxos, for example) and those recordings do get listened to by ordinary people in their homes.
« Last Edit: March 16, 2020, 11:21:18 AM by CRCulver »

Offline San Antone

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #350 on: March 16, 2020, 11:44:45 AM »
Wow, that is a recording of the Boulez I had never heard of before, and I have been a collector of Boulez sonata recordings.

It never ceases to irk me when conservative classical music fans like to denigrate serialism and claim that "No one listens to that music", when so many recordings of e.g. the Boulez piano sonata have been released. Wuorinen, too, has got his share of disparagement in responses to the announcement of his death, but one can plainly see that his music has been recorded (on Naxos, for example) and those recordings do get listened to by ordinary people in their homes.

I've been reading the book Surprised by Beauty, and while I have enjoyed some chapters, overall I have to say I was turned off by the animosity the author(s) expressed toward 12-tone music. 

I have never gone in for denigration of any music, since I feel it reflects entirely upon the speaker, and not in a positive way.  I also feel that everyone ought to open themselves up to all kinds of music; give it chance, at least once.  And if it is not for you, the music is not at fault.  It just means our tastes do not run in all directions.

Wuorinen was a great composer, the manner in which he used his melodic cells, motives and compositional tools was masterful.  Although, I have to say that I was never intrigued with his exploration of electronic music.

Offline k a rl h e nn i ng

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #351 on: March 16, 2020, 11:48:37 AM »
I've been reading the book Surprised by Beauty, and while I have enjoyed some chapters, overall I have to say I was turned off by the animosity the author(s) expressed toward 12-tone music.

That's really the principal author, and not our Jens, who tried to curb the tendentious rage of the former, but was only able to succeed so far . . .
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 vers la flamme

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #352 on: March 23, 2020, 12:48:48 PM »
I got Time's Encomium on CD, on Tzadik, alongside three other works for a variety of ensembles. So this is a pretty difficult work.  :laugh: ... but I am enjoying what I am hearing. Apparently, Miles Davis was enamored with this work in the early '70s, and I hear the connection between it and, for example, On the Corner.

Did Wuorinen leave behind much else in the way of electronic music? Safe to say this is his "magnum opus" within that genre? I know Milton Babbitt is supposed to have been a pioneer of serial electronic music—did he write anything like this? This music is challenging, but fascinating.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
« Reply #353 on: March 23, 2020, 12:59:42 PM »
I got Time's Encomium on CD, on Tzadik, alongside three other works for a variety of ensembles. So this is a pretty difficult work.  :laugh: ... but I am enjoying what I am hearing. Apparently, Miles Davis was enamored with this work in the early '70s, and I hear the connection between it and, for example, On the Corner.

Did Wuorinen leave behind much else in the way of electronic music? Safe to say this is his "magnum opus" within that genre? I know Milton Babbitt is supposed to have been a pioneer of serial electronic music—did he write anything like this? This music is challenging, but fascinating.

There's a version of New York Notes that has an electronic component. Don't know of any other Wuorinen pieces that use electronics, and after the RCA synthesizer became completely obsolete, both he and Babbitt seem to have lost interest in electronics altogether.

Babbitt wrote a number of classics in the genre. My favorites are Philomel for soprano and electronics and Reflections for piano and electronics.

<a href="https://www.youtube.com/v/3SMR5WIgSUg" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer" class="bbc_link bbc_flash_disabled new_win">https://www.youtube.com/v/3SMR5WIgSUg</a>

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"l do not consider my music as atonal, but rather as non-tonal. I feel the unity of all keys. Atonal music by modern composers admits of no key at all, no feeling of any definite center." - Arnold Schoenberg