GMG Classical Music Forum

The Music Room => Great Recordings and Reviews => Topic started by: Mandryka on February 01, 2021, 03:59:48 AM

Title: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on February 01, 2021, 03:59:48 AM
A thread for all the cool living composers from Das Land ohne Musik who don't deserve a thread of their own.

(https://media.tenor.com/images/366a7417b1aa93aa7ccc508c2c799aad/tenor.gif)


Warning. I said living, and I mean alive and kicking. No Vaughan Williams allowed.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on February 01, 2021, 04:04:40 AM
And here's one for starters -- James Clarke -- new complexity maybe, but this guy's got soul and he's got brains. Three recordings, all fabulous IMO, especially the first two


(https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/hc/ch/frflidxm3chhc_600.jpg)       (https://static.qobuz.com/images/covers/37/03/4032824000337_600.jpg)        (https://img.discogs.com/GC494z43DxOE1dnpmh3Up0VlVwM=/fit-in/600x526/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-5411033-1392710035-8395.jpeg.jpg)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on February 14, 2021, 12:57:55 AM
Simon Emmerson is a music professor in Leicester. Sentences and Five Spaces on this CD are gorgeous - he has a sense of space and calm which I like very much. Chamber sized music.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/617MZtM5qBL._AC_SY450_.jpg)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on February 14, 2021, 10:57:18 AM
(https://www.teuthida.com/productImages/misc4/21042.jpg).    (https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/proxy/Y23tanGP1MmXQIrJSahTBOXrdlho4tvhWcfwPyHeptAUUVh7RvbwsEDYSJDGebHqZ9MMDPp7khc4mHKw9Nqy4I3KzqecLsAu9J6lJ657gR7MD1IYos-C)

James Saunders does two things. One is write very quiet music, but it’s quite complex, rich textures, we’re in a much less ascetic world than, for example Antoine Beuger and Jürg Frey - I love it when I’m in the mood. The other is write modular music - the performers assemble the modules in any way they want. The two CDs above have become great favourites of mine. He’s been played at Donaueschinger and Darmstadt, and indeed the performances have been recorded and commercially released - the one at Donaueschinger is a favourite. (2007 vol. 2)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: vandermolen on February 15, 2021, 07:15:57 AM
Here are two for starters, whose music I greatly admire. Robin Walker for works like 'Great Rock is Dead' which has an, appropriately granitic, monolithic power. (which reminded me a bit of the Icelandic composer Jon Leifs) and Philip Spratley's (great name) Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia Pascale':
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on March 10, 2021, 02:19:49 PM
(http://john-croft.uk/images/fhr87-digipak-cover-sm-137-1.jpg)

I’m not sure if John Croft is British, I note he got his first degree in New Zealand, but he seems to work in the UK. What I find impressive is a seriousness, a sensuality and a feeling of the other worldly: pregnant silences, unexpected harmonies and timbres. The effects he uses are often not unfamiliar - Luigi Nono, Jonathan Harvey, maybe most of all Klaus Huber (because of the seriousness) all come to mind. But somehow the way he uses them is very impressive.


Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on March 14, 2021, 09:19:49 AM
Cassandra Miller is Australian, she works in London and so I'll put her here as an honorary Brit. I just want to make a note of links to papers I'm reading which discuss her music.

The composer's music Bel Canto
https://vimeo.com/444187045


James Weeks, Along The Grain
https://www.jstor.org/stable/43932618?read-now=1&refreqid=excelsior%3A2603605a641f2e6ddb96362d27b08121&seq=1#page_scan_tab_contents


Bernhard Lang's Cuts’n Beats
https://www.borealisfestival.no/2006/cutsandbeats.pdf

Martin Arnold's Piece Touchee
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=AnDagpv4kUk&ab_channel=Jujyfruits
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on March 15, 2021, 06:55:15 AM
Cassandra Miller is very active in London, where she works, and is one of those composers who has a sort of local cult. Most of her music is available on Another Timbre, but I just found an extraordinary piece for string orchestra, descending glissandi, relentlessly descending glissandi, on this interesting CD on bandcamp and spotify



(https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0051817059_16.jpg)

She enjoys writing music which is based on found music, which he meticulously transcribes, her scores are micro-detailed and very technically demanding I'm told.

Probably my favourite pieces by her have been O Zomer and Philip The Wonderer (for Philip Thomas) -- here he is

https://www.youtube.com/v/FYiiilacMIs&ab_channel=continuummusic

Very often her work is based on found music. In the Tracery series a piece of found music is used initially as the basis of a meditation, where a singer spontaneously responds to what she hears -- she has a singer working with her, Juliet Fraser. These improvisations are recorded and then processed. Here's Tracery: Rocking and Swaying, which is based on a Ben Johnson quartet, introduced by Juliet

https://vimeo.com/267404968

In the introduction Juliet Fraser explains the evident connection to Pauline Oliveros's work. I note that, as far as I know, Oliveros's meditations were NOT performance pieces, and inded Fraser denies that what she's doing in Tracery is performing. I don't know what I think of this.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on March 17, 2021, 02:56:15 AM
Cassandra Miller’s doctorate.

http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/34998/1/FINAL%20THESIS%20-%20Miller.pdf
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: amw on March 21, 2021, 10:56:21 PM
(https://laboiteamusique.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/0809730861123.jpg)

Have only listened to the big piece here but it's quite attractive music, in a vaguely post-new complexity-ish way. Pace sounds good to me here but I don't have very good speakers.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on March 22, 2021, 01:15:36 AM
(https://laboiteamusique.eu/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/0809730861123.jpg)

Have only listened to the big piece here but it's quite attractive music, in a vaguely post-new complexity-ish way. Pace sounds good to me here but I don't have very good speakers.

Noted, it’s just after a weekend of Frey and Wolff I can’t possibly listen to that sort of stuff today.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on March 22, 2021, 01:34:04 AM
(https://www.teuthida.com/productImages/misc4/23279.jpg)

Started to explore Keith Rowe’s The Room Extended. It’s four CDs and I’m dipping in fairly randomly, at the moment CD 2, which has some evocative “hauntological” episodes - a sampled track of traditional music with all sorts of electronic grunting and groaning over it, really magic for me, that sort of thing. Does anyone know this music?


https://www.squidco.com/miva/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=S&Product_Code=23279
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: T. D. on March 22, 2021, 09:08:53 AM
Cassandra Miller is very active in London, where she works, and is one of those composers who has a sort of local cult. Most of her music is available on Another Timbre, but I just found an extraordinary piece for string orchestra, descending glissandi, relentlessly descending glissandi, on this interesting CD on bandcamp and spotify



(https://f4.bcbits.com/img/a0051817059_16.jpg)

She enjoys writing music which is based on found music, which he meticulously transcribes, her scores are micro-detailed and very technically demanding I'm told.

Probably my favourite pieces by her have been O Zomer and Philip The Wonderer (for Philip Thomas) -- here he is

https://www.youtube.com/v/FYiiilacMIs&ab_channel=continuummusic

Very often her work is based on found music. In the Tracery series a piece of found music is used initially as the basis of a meditation, where a singer spontaneously responds to what she hears -- she has a singer working with her, Juliet Fraser. These improvisations are recorded and then processed. Here's Tracery: Rocking and Swaying, which is based on a Ben Johnson quartet, introduced by Juliet

https://vimeo.com/267404968

In the introduction Juliet Fraser explains the evident connection to Pauline Oliveros's work. I note that, as far as I know, Oliveros's meditations were NOT performance pieces, and inded Fraser denies that what she's doing in Tracery is performing. I don't know what I think of this.

Thanks, these look interesting. I have and enjoy 2 of Miller's Another Timbre recordings. Will definitely try the piece for string orchestra, as I particularly liked the Duet for Cello and Orchestra. So much of AT's catalog is solos and duets that (non-Feldman-like; that sonic genre is also over-represented) pieces for larger ensembles seem rare and exotic.
A bit sceptical about the collaboration with C. Palestine (teddy bears and all), but it surely won't be run-of-the-mill.  ;)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on April 04, 2021, 12:14:10 AM
Tim Parkinson works at the Samuel Beckett Research Centre in Reading.

In the early years of this century, two of his pieces were recorded for Wandelweiser, one for piano, and one for solo cello

(https://img.discogs.com/DuSY66anExmVPTwxvelafkelXIo=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(webp):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-1526424-1323475426.jpeg.jpg)     (https://img.discogs.com/ZKrSSLn7cuscLlU4JVau1NfK8Tg=/fit-in/300x300/filters:strip_icc():format(jpeg):mode_rgb():quality(40)/discogs-images/R-3745044-1342634765-4831.jpeg.jpg)

They are both have a sort mosaic structure familiar from, for example, Christian Wolff’s Long Piano. And being Wandelweiser they are quiet. However they have a certain magic about them, as a sort of exploration of sound possibilities- somehow he has the knack of making music which draws me in.

In fact I liked those Wandelweiser recordings so much I decided to by a recent release of piano music played by Mark Knoop, I’ll comment later if I have any ideas about it.

(https://i1.sndcdn.com/artworks-000598318562-en1r4r-t500x500.jpg)

This is my main reason for posting. My copy of the Wandelweiser piano CD (which is by Philip Thomas) sounds OK but is very low bitrate MP3. Does anyone have a good rip they can let me have?



https://allthatdust.bandcamp.com/album/piano-music-2015-16

https://www.philip-thomas.co.uk/tim-parkinson-piano-piece-piano-piece/

I noticed just now that he has a couple of electronic CDs on bandcamp, which I haven’t heard. The clips sound a bit too many notes and too cheerful for me!
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on April 04, 2021, 12:19:26 AM
Thanks, these look interesting. I have and enjoy 2 of Miller's Another Timbre recordings. Will definitely try the piece for string orchestra, as I particularly liked the Duet for Cello and Orchestra. So much of AT's catalog is solos and duets that (non-Feldman-like; that sonic genre is also over-represented) pieces for larger ensembles seem rare and exotic.
A bit sceptical about the collaboration with C. Palestine (teddy bears and all), but it surely won't be run-of-the-mill.  ;)

This is certainly worth a listen - I like Juliet Fraser’s voice very much. Plus Minus Ensemble is a Mark Knoop thing.

(https://img.discogs.com/FOR3pbQ5J-kooyG7-Tm0xEGW9dA=/fit-in/600x600/filters:strip_icc():format(webp):mode_rgb():quality(90)/discogs-images/R-14857313-1582925908-6594.png.jpg)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 01, 2021, 06:16:15 AM
Essay by Philip Thomas on Laurence Crane

http://eprints.hud.ac.uk/id/eprint/28879/3/Performing%20Laurence%20Crane_repository.pdf
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 01, 2021, 09:33:35 AM
James Clapperton is one of these shadowy figures who hasn’t put much on record, but is well respected here both as performer and composer by the world which revolves around Huddersfield. In fact his reputation is international, including performance collaborations with Radulescu, Walter Zimmermann and (I’m told) Sciarrino. What I want to point out is this excellent recording of Clapperton’s own music - good music, good sounding piano too. Streaming so easy to hear.

(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81rLGIgakLS._AC_SX425_.jpg)

Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2021, 07:51:50 AM
I’d always been indifferent towards Howard Skempton’s piano music, which I had got to know mainly through John Tilbury’s famous recording. And yet, today, I found a YouTube playlist which is a revelation - the pianist is someone called Raymond Chapman Smith, and the programme was given at the American Contemporary Music Ensemble - here’s one of the pieces

https://www.youtube.com/v/7TuGEz08zTk&ab_channel=ACMENewMusicCo.Archive

Much more thoughtful and much less wilful than Tilbury in the same music, more nuanced too, even given YouTube sound. Chapman Smith makes Skempton appear like a Laurence Crane avant la lettre. (Which, of course, he is!)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2021, 08:09:07 AM
(https://images-eu.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81T4u9Ko9LL.__AC_SY445_SX342_QL70_ML2_.jpg)

Oh I forgot to mention, this is another Skempton recording which has caught my attention - just don’t expect a bolt from the blue - Skempton’s music isn’t like that!
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: T. D. on May 15, 2021, 10:27:27 AM
I’d always been indifferent towards Howard Skempton’s piano music, which I had got to know mainly through John Tilbury’s famous recording. And yet, today, I found a YouTube playlist which is a revelation - the pianist is someone called Raymond Chapman Smith, and the programme was given at the American Contemporary Music Ensemble - here’s one of the pieces

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7TuGEz08zTk

Much more thoughtful and much less wilful than Tilbury in the same music, more nuanced too, even given YouTube sound. Chapman Smith makes Skempton appear like a Laurence Crane avant la lettre. (Which, of course, he is!)

Interesting. I've only heard two CDs worth of Skempton's piano music, both by Tilbury, who I expected to be "the last word". Neither was terrible, but they wound being sold/donated and I gave up on Skempton. Perhaps I should revisit.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 15, 2021, 11:11:21 AM
For me Skempton is interesting primarily because of the relation to Crane.  Crane seems to me the more interesting composer, and Fox even more interesting. And Walter Zimmermann even more interesting than Fox.

What do you think of this stuff? I know a musician, composer, serious composer with an international reputation . . . who reckons Mark R Taylor's the bee's knees when it comes to piano music today: "Mark's harmonic vocabulary is so  dense and complex  . . .   his expressive world so dark . . . some of the most original and powerful piano music of the present time. "

https://www.youtube.com/v/4dveuNusNQg&ab_channel=Anothertimbre
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: foxandpeng on May 15, 2021, 11:20:08 AM
Here are two for starters, whose music I greatly admire. Robin Walker for works like 'Great Rock is Dead' which has an, appropriately granitic, monolithic power. (which reminded me a bit of the Icelandic composer Jon Leifs) and Philip Spratley's (great name) Symphony No.3 'Sinfonia Pascale':

This is a great thread, Mandryka! I will get exploring ☺. I need to prod Robin Walker if he is anything like Jon Leifs, although I listened to his SQ 2 in the car last week, which seemed like the SQ for Silence and Megaphone! I had to do more knob twiddling than a teenager's late Saturday evening with the Emmanuel films.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: T. D. on May 15, 2021, 05:04:26 PM
This is a great thread, Mandryka! I will get exploring ☺. I need to prod Robin Walker if he is anything like Jon Leifs, although I listened to his SQ 2 in the car last week, which seemed like the SQ for Silence and Megaphone! I had to do more knob twiddling than a teenager's late Saturday evening with the Emmanuel[le] films.

 :laugh:
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 17, 2021, 03:18:23 AM
(https://d1iiivw74516uk.cloudfront.net/eyJidWNrZXQiOiJwcmVzdG8tY292ZXItaW1hZ2VzIiwia2V5IjoiNzkzOTc3Ni4xLmpwZyIsImVkaXRzIjp7InJlc2l6ZSI6eyJ3aWR0aCI6OTAwfSwianBlZyI6eyJxdWFsaXR5Ijo2NX0sInRvRm9ybWF0IjoianBlZyJ9LCJ0aW1lc3RhbXAiOjE0MDE5ODI1NDl9)

The first thing I want to say about this is that Finnissy is an excellent pianist, the best of the British bunch IMO. More timbre.

The second thing is that the CD gives a glimpse into the variety of music which was happening in Britain in the last 20 years or so of the last century. Finnissy still unable to quite shake off the vestiges of new complexity - his music still has a lot of notes - but it has started to acquire a sort of lyricism, and he’s a master of contrats, this period may well be his most interesting. Skempton’s music is sparse and IMO owes a huge debt to Feldman and Cage. Skempton is about sounds, letting sounds resonate. There’s also sense of closure in Skempton - not CPT cadences probably, but still that sense of coming safely and securely to an end . Finnissy plays Skempton better than anyone else on record. Newman’s explicit quotations are fun, and Weir - well I haven’t managed to get into her music yet I’m afraid.

But basically this is a valuable recording I think, a glimpse into yesterday’s leading edge in this sceptred isle. More than that, there are some piano masterpieces here I think - Finnissy’s  Stanley Stokes for example.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 20, 2021, 08:27:09 PM
(https://f4.bcbits.com/img/0020824164_10.jpg)

Strangely moreish music, this sequence by Oliver Leith, I mean, it is kind of impossible to stop listening when you start. It’s a bit like Angelo Badalamenti/Twin Peaks music with some cool percussion providing spice, a triangle here and there sort of thing. And than percussion stops it from being smug and pompous. Worth a listen - nice ambient relaxing music, with a disturbing edge.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 23, 2021, 03:41:49 AM
(https://f4.bcbits.com/img/0020824164_10.jpg)

Strangely moreish music, this sequence by Oliver Leith, I mean, it is kind of impossible to stop listening when you start. It’s a bit like Angelo Badalamenti/Twin Peaks music with some cool percussion providing spice, a triangle here and there sort of thing. And than percussion stops it from being smug and pompous. Worth a listen - nice ambient relaxing music, with a disturbing edge.

And the new one is seriously good, this guy’s the real deal.



(http://www.anothertimbre.com/_wp_generated/wp60a2a4a2_05_06.jpg)

http://www.anothertimbre.com/oliverleithmehollywood.html
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: T. D. on May 23, 2021, 04:26:46 AM
And the new one is seriously good, this guy’s the real deal.



(http://www.anothertimbre.com/_wp_generated/wp60a2a4a2_05_06.jpg)

http://www.anothertimbre.com/oliverleithmehollywood.html

Agreed, after reading your previous post I listened to the clips from the new one and was impressed.
Much (most?) of the Another Timbre catalog seems to consist of quiet solos/duets or ambient-type music, which I'm pretty full up on these days, so I'm pleased to see the chamber works with relatively large ensembles.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on May 23, 2021, 06:27:37 AM
Buy it NOW!

(On the other hand, the new one from James Weeks seems a bit disappointing.)
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on September 18, 2021, 06:32:47 PM
http://www.richardemsley.com/index.php/barrett-article/

Essay on Richard Emsley by Richard Barrett. I’m very much enjoying some long solo piano pieces on soundcloud, e.g. For Piano 13.
Title: Re: Cool Britannia
Post by: Mandryka on November 07, 2021, 11:14:31 AM
https://www.jtilbury.com/howard-skempton/

Above is a link to four CDs by John Tilbury of solo piano music by Howard Skempton. I’ve just downloaded the third, largely because of the comments by Skempton about two of the pieces on it.


The CD is a revelation, that’s the only word for it. Much much more interesting than any Skempton piano I’ve heard before - including Tilbury’s commercial CD on Sony. Howard Skempton has a serious following here in London, and I’ve met composers who rate his music very highly indeed. These recordings by Tilbury are helping me to finally see why.

I’m coming to the conclusion that Tilbury really flowered around 2010 - all the recordings I hear from him from around that time are exceptional.

(I’m not convinced that the sound quality really justifies flac - these recordings are fine, but not SOTA!)