Author Topic: The Babbitt Habit  (Read 12805 times)

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Offline nochmal

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #40 on: December 16, 2012, 10:53:08 AM »
I just hope the Zukofsky Quartet will now record these pieces.

Hidden away in the discography section of the website of former Babbitt student and (afaiu) Zukofsky violist David Fulmer, such a release is indeed mentioned as forthcoming. The page says it was last updated in July 2010, though, so I guess one shouldn't hold one's breath...

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #41 on: December 16, 2012, 02:23:15 PM »
I'd like to hear Aki Takahashi do the Piano Works.

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit SOLI e DUETTINI
« Reply #42 on: June 29, 2014, 06:34:49 AM »
Soli e Duettini (Koch Int'l/Naxos)

Flipping through the Used rack, and SNAAAP!,-... and away we went for $1!! This is a crackin' little album of solos and duos that turns out to be, maybe, the go-to Babbitt recital. It would have been nice to have an ensemble work or two, but Babbitt's intricacy guarantees immersion. The work for sax and piano really almost sounds like more than two players.

The IS a new Babbitt CD of ensemble pieces- it's the first CD listed on Amazon- and it too looks like a winner!

Here, quickly, is my Essential Babbitt recommendations:


1) SQ 3
2) SQ 4- both on two separate CRI recitals

3) 'The Joy of Sextets'- violin & piano

4) the 'New' ensemble CD mentioned above
5) the ensemble CD on Bridge with the hideous cover (MOST hideous)

6) the Koch/Naxos 'Soli e Duettini'

7) Piano Concerto

8- opps, forgot the Taub and Goldray discs for the Piano Music (though, we really need Aki takahashi here). Taub is accused of being sloppy.


Really, that's about it except for individual pieces here and there. Any one of these will put you right smack in the middle of Babbittland.

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit JOY OF SEXTETS
« Reply #43 on: July 07, 2014, 07:11:55 AM »
Can anyone recommend the violin/piano duo album 'The Joy of Sextets'? As if I need confirmation, duh. ::) But anyone have and love?

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit JOY OF SEXTETS
« Reply #44 on: February 03, 2016, 08:05:58 AM »
Can anyone recommend the violin/piano duo album 'The Joy of Sextets'? As if I need confirmation, duh. ::) But anyone have and love?

Yes, I just got it for you. Great fun, 40 mins. of Babbitt piano/violin.... what else is there to say???

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit THE ESSENTIAL BABBITT
« Reply #45 on: February 03, 2016, 08:44:06 AM »
THE ESSENTIAL  BABBITT:


1) PIANO MUSIC: one MUST get the Taub and G
   
Post-Partitions
by Robert Miller
   3:38    
   
$0.99
oldray discs. Some say Taub is a little rough, but I like it dirrrty, so... Goldray is just pristine. Anyhow, the Piano Music is
                               probably the first place to go with Babbitt. Nonkin also has a single late piece recorded. The best overall Total Serialist Piano Music, imo. If you can tell me
                               some others that also have a distinctive computer-like sound to them, I'm all ears!

2) PIANO/VIOLIN: continuing on, you MUST get the 'Sextets/ More Joy of Sextets' (NewWorld), as it simply extends the fun from above.

3) PIANO CONCERTO: (NewWorld) I've aaalways loved this piece, so chilly and objective, ... it's almost the perfect Feldman piece I think... the other piece, with soprano
                                          and four players, is a little noodly for me- it still sounds the same, I'm just not all that into the singing, as good as it is...

4) STRING QUARTETS 3-4: same artists as before. 3 is my favored Babbitt listening because the music is so plink-plonky, AND, the dry acoustic actually almost makes it
                                                  sound computer-ish. Both are quite florid and fragile, Total Serialism at its finest, imo.

5) 'SOLI E DUETTINI': the Koch/Naxos disc of solos and duets. For some reason, I only like "solo" or "duet" Babbitt- the ensemble pieces seem to get a bit noisy for me,
                                       and I mean most all of them. For me, Babbitt is complex enough for maybe up to three players, then,maybe, it gets too much for me- or, I like if the
                                       ensemble is homogenous (ie-SQs)


6) 'CORRESPONDENSES (DG) & 'TRANSFIGURED NOTES': i WAS WONDERING WHY i LIKED THESE ORCHESTRAL WORKS BUT NOT THE NOISER 'rELATA 1', AND i
                                                                                                           noted that they were both for 'String Orchestra', so, again, Babbitt wins with like textures. I think these two are
                                                                                                           great pieces.



7) TZADIK DISC: this has the early, Berio/Maderna sounding SQ2, the late masterpiece SQ6, the groovy 'Occastional Variations', and the very plink=plonky guitar piece. I'm
                               not too happy with the sound in SQ6, but it's good. The SQ2 is an LP reissue.

8) SQ5: available only on Music&Arts (with Powell & Carter)- I only put this here for completion's sake. I do prefer SQs 3-4 over 5-6, mostly for the "classic feel" of those two.
              5-6 I still haven't completely gotten in to...





I can really do without all the rest, though, the 'Philomel' recording might make it one day, just for giggles. But, frankly, there's not thaaat much Babbitt out there- a lot of his songs are scattered over a bunch of CRI releases, and a few small pieces here and there... I did "drop" both the newer Boston Babbitt Project CD, and the Bridge CD with the awful cover: nothing wrong with the former, just "too much" for me right now, and, the latter really only has the one ensemble work that's interesting, which also appears on another CD. The organ piece on that disc is my least favored Babbitt so far, after 'Relata1'. And, there is only a solo clarinet piece (not the most special solo cl. I've ever heard, at 15mins.), and a short soprano/2 clarinet piece, and that's it, so, that Bridge disc isn't really as special as previously thought, imo.

Anyhow, that's my Essential Babbitt. There's really not much, but, what there is is complex enough for many many listens.

bwv 1080

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #46 on: February 03, 2016, 08:49:50 AM »
This qualifies as essential



And you also need the guitar piece Sheer Pluck

Offline Rons_talking

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #47 on: February 05, 2016, 06:40:39 AM »
This qualifies as essential



And you also need the guitar piece Sheer Pluck

All Set is one of my favorite Babbit works. A serial work for jazz musicians! A great sounding piece...

Offline Brewski

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Happy 100th, Milton Babbitt (d. 2011)
« Reply #48 on: May 10, 2016, 06:05:03 AM »
Today Milton Babbitt would have been 100 years old. Just now I listened to Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape (1967), and will explore some of his other works later. It took me quite a few years to "get" much of his output, and though he is not a composer I listen to often, the more I hear, the more I like.

What did the trick, years ago, is a live performance of The Head of the Bed (1982) with Judith Bettina (soprano), James Levine, and members of the Met Orchestra. (Even her recording, done years earlier, didn't unlock it for me.)

He was a regular presence at new music concerts in New York in the 1980s and 1990s, and was known for having a sly sense of humor. Now I wish we'd had the chance to have lunch.

Correspondences (1967, recorded by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1990)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF-l2OFHs5I

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

~Iannis Xenakis

Twitter: @BruceHodgesNY

snyprrr

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Re: Happy 100th, Milton Babbitt (d. 2011)
« Reply #49 on: May 10, 2016, 06:18:07 AM »
Today Milton Babbitt would have been 100 years old. Just now I listened to Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape (1967), and will explore some of his other works later. It took me quite a few years to "get" much of his output, and though he is not a composer I listen to often, the more I hear, the more I like.

What did the trick, years ago, is a live performance of The Head of the Bed (1982) with Judith Bettina (soprano), James Levine, and members of the Met Orchestra. (Even her recording, done years earlier, didn't unlock it for me.)

He was a regular presence at new music concerts in New York in the 1980s and 1990s, and was known for having a sly sense of humor. Now I wish we'd had the chance to have lunch.

Correspondences (1967, recorded by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1990)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF-l2OFHs5I

--Bruce

WE MUST BE ON A WAVELENGTH HERE...whoops


'Correspondences' is just too likable a Babbitt piece to start with, no? But, yes, I like his "strings only" works like that and the 'Transfigured Notes'. There other Orchestral Works are a bit noisy for me.


I picked up the Goldray and Nonkin discs, but that just makes one yearn for more Piano Music like his earlier stuff... Babbitt at least always uses a lot of notes... the most notes that I like (as opposed to Ferneyhough, who seems to use all the notes I don't like, lol)

Offline EigenUser

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Re: Happy 100th, Milton Babbitt (d. 2011)
« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2016, 10:47:55 AM »
Today Milton Babbitt would have been 100 years old. Just now I listened to Correspondences for string orchestra and synthesized tape (1967), and will explore some of his other works later. It took me quite a few years to "get" much of his output, and though he is not a composer I listen to often, the more I hear, the more I like.

What did the trick, years ago, is a live performance of The Head of the Bed (1982) with Judith Bettina (soprano), James Levine, and members of the Met Orchestra. (Even her recording, done years earlier, didn't unlock it for me.)

He was a regular presence at new music concerts in New York in the 1980s and 1990s, and was known for having a sly sense of humor. Now I wish we'd had the chance to have lunch.

Correspondences (1967, recorded by James Levine and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, 1990)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VF-l2OFHs5I

--Bruce
Bruce, are you familiar with his All Set for jazz band? That is a very fun piece. I love the title, too (play on words since the piece is based off of set theory). I recall liking Transfigured Notes a lot, too.
Beethoven's Op. 133 -- A fugue so bad that even Beethoven himself called it "Grosse".

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit Why Am I Such A Babbitt Junkie???
« Reply #51 on: January 12, 2017, 04:17:59 PM »
Only Babbitt's Piano Music plinks-and-plonks just the way I want it to, all mathematical and computer sounding, space age, trim and clean yet overtly complex.

But, in my zeal, I found I probably won't want to acquire the Complete Babbitt Discography, as it stands. His Piano Music, and the Solos and Duos (though, ONLY the solos and duos) and the Piano Concerto are what I return to again and again, namely, the Taub&Goldray discs, the Koch/Naxos disc, and the PC NewWorld.

Along with those, the String Quartets 3-4 (1970?1?) (Music&Arts, CRI) actually top the list. The recording of SQ3, a vintage one from I believe 1971, is like the most perfectly realized laboratory experiment I've heard, though, there was a moment in the Quartetto Italiano's Webern. But here, the Pointallistic music is aided by the ultra dry recording, with just the right tight "bounce" to make all the notes sound like actual particles bouncing around inside a "game".


So, as for listening, I'm not all that hip on Babbitt's vocal classicsm including the 'Philomel' and 'Phenomena' (I mean, they're fine, I just don't want right now) and the flip side of the Piano Concerto, 'The Head on the Bed'. (if anyone would like to discuss that piece, that's the one piece I try and again to get through with pleasure)

And for some reason, Babbitt's Ensemble/Chamber Music I find quite dreary. 'Septet But Equal' and 'Four Play' and maybe 'Arie da Capo' I found to sound like the stochastic bits of early Xenakis, all uber random to the point of sonic briar patch. The other pieces, off of that Boston set, are also quite loud and not the kind of thing I like in Babbitt. The jazz piece I don't particularly ...eh. And the Clarinet Quintet,... eh, maybe I'll try it again later... I didn't particularly like the aggressive strings of the String Quartet No.5, either, so far from the delicacies of 3-4. If you ask me about SQ6 I might just say I didn't like what he was doing with Strings in the 80s... though I did much like 'Transfigured Notes',... and 'Correspondences' has that echt modern sound I love (DG)...


Sometimes I think it's the Babbitt of 1971 that I like! More like 1966-1974, but, the works are few.

I want more of the Babbitt I want, but ... there isn't any. :(

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit 'Time Cycle'
« Reply #52 on: January 26, 2017, 01:43:22 PM »
Playing for Time (1977)
About Time (1982)
Overtime (1986)

'Time Cycle' for Piano

All three pieces use the same material, to vastly different ends. The first and third clock in at around three minutes, but 'About Time' is one of Babbitt's most extended and concentrated works for piano; in a field of similarly complex masterworks, 'About Time' seems to stand out as the smoothest and most fun 12mins. of Babbitt's brand of Total Serialism.

Alan Feinberg has recorded 'Playing for Time; twice (CRI and Argo). At 2:30, and 3:00, respectively, one gets to hear two different takes by the same person of some of the most Abstract Piano Music ever written. I can sit there and just go back and forth between the two and hear so many interesting points of comparison. Feinberg's recording of 'About Time' sounds a lot like the piano music for the two 'Sextets' works- very smooth and delicate, everything one likes about Babbitt.

snyprrr

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #53 on: May 21, 2018, 06:36:01 AM »
Maybe we'll just move from Satie to Babbitt? It certainly wasn't that long ago that we were discussing on this Thread. I would love to hear a brilliant Complete Piano Music Cycle to come out.

Offline Uhor

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #54 on: April 03, 2020, 08:30:02 PM »
Really enjoying his very colourful concerto for orchestra https://soundcloud.com/serial-killers-170423636/concerti

Online vers la flamme

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #55 on: April 04, 2020, 05:07:11 AM »
I just found a long OOP disc I've been looking for, brand new, for cheap...: Babbitt Piano Works w/ Robert Taub. I'm trying not to buy music now, but I had to pull the trigger. Excited to check it out:



Also wanted to notify people to this enticing digital release...:

https://erikcarlson.bandcamp.com/album/milton-babbitt-string-quartets

Babbitt's complete string quartets w/ the Ars Combinatoria String Quartet. I haven't bought it yet but I've been listening on Bandcamp occasionally. Very interesting music.

I have a lot of respect for Babbitt but I have yet to really explore his music in earnest.

Offline Mahlerian

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #56 on: April 04, 2020, 05:25:17 AM »
The video essay series on Babbitt's music here is very approachable, even for people without a significant music theory background, and probably helps to explain some of the appeal of his work to non-specialists:
http://www.smt-v.org/archives/volume5.html
"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

Online vers la flamme

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Re: The Babbitt Habit
« Reply #57 on: April 04, 2020, 05:37:10 AM »
The video essay series on Babbitt's music here is very approachable, even for people without a significant music theory background, and probably helps to explain some of the appeal of his work to non-specialists:
http://www.smt-v.org/archives/volume5.html

Fascinating, thanks!

Offline T. D.

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Re: Happy 100th, Milton Babbitt (d. 2011)
« Reply #58 on: April 04, 2020, 07:54:07 AM »
Today Milton Babbitt would have been 100 years old. ...

He was a regular presence at new music concerts in New York in the 1980s and 1990s, and was known for having a sly sense of humor. Now I wish we'd had the chance to have lunch.

Yes, I often saw Babbitt at Merkin Concert Hall in the '90s. [Rambling] Attendance at many Merkin events was uh, less than overwhelming (in the 20s iirc), so it was easy to pick out familiar faces. Merkin concerts could often be attended gratis if you phoned an organization called the "Concert Theatre Club" in advance... ;) I'm not a composer or knowledgeable about theory, so never considered saying anything to MB.
I just found a long OOP disc I've been looking for, brand new, for cheap...: Babbitt Piano Works w/ Robert Taub. I'm trying not to buy music now, but I had to pull the trigger. Excited to check it out:



That's a good one. Funny about availability; back in the day it languished in cutout bins and on BRO shelves for years. I'm also fond of the old CD including Elizabethan Sextette with Bethany Beardslee, which I found surprisingly "accessible". I enjoy Babbitt's piano music (Alan Feinberg is also good), but it depends on the performer (Marilyn Nonken seemed less convincing). [Rambling] I'd really like to hear Pi-Hsien Chen play some Babbitt works!
« Last Edit: April 04, 2020, 08:13:16 AM by T. D. »

Online vers la flamme

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Re: Happy 100th, Milton Babbitt (d. 2011)
« Reply #59 on: April 04, 2020, 12:05:12 PM »
Yes, I often saw Babbitt at Merkin Concert Hall in the '90s. [Rambling] Attendance at many Merkin events was uh, less than overwhelming (in the 20s iirc), so it was easy to pick out familiar faces. Merkin concerts could often be attended gratis if you phoned an organization called the "Concert Theatre Club" in advance... ;) I'm not a composer or knowledgeable about theory, so never considered saying anything to MB.That's a good one. Funny about availability; back in the day it languished in cutout bins and on BRO shelves for years. I'm also fond of the old CD including Elizabethan Sextette with Bethany Beardslee, which I found surprisingly "accessible". I enjoy Babbitt's piano music (Alan Feinberg is also good), but it depends on the performer (Marilyn Nonken seemed less convincing). [Rambling] I'd really like to hear Pi-Hsien Chen play some Babbitt works!

I'm a fan of Ms. Chen in Stockhausen, Schoenberg, Boulez etc; I think she could hit it home with this music.