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The Music Room => Composer Discussion => Topic started by: karlhenning on September 07, 2007, 05:03:20 AM

Title: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on September 07, 2007, 05:03:20 AM
Can't believe we haven't started this thread yet!

This morning, after an unconscionably long interval, I have revisited the marvelous, zesty String Sextet.  It goes well with "New England Eye-Opener" coffee, or indeed, as a substitute for that strengthening, stimulating beverage.

At Arkivmusic, a review from Fanfare is cited:

Quote from: Eric J. Bruskin
Like Homer’s rosy-fingered dawn, Charles Wuorinen seems destined to be forever attached by lazy writers to one epithet or another along the lines of “brainy” or “intellectual” or “complex,” usually as some sort of backhanded esteem. As if Bach or Mozart weren’t all of those things too! When I listen to Wuorinen, I am put in mind of Mendelssohn or Haydn more than Schoenberg or Webern. Wuorinen uses some pretty hard-core serial techniques, but they’re in the deep background. The music always sounds lively, with wide-ranging humor from chortling to all-out guffaws (as when a snatch of something sounding like "Camptown Races" falls out of the finale of the Piano Quintet; this is also the composer that dropped a bald-faced quotation of the opening of the Tchaikovsky First Piano Concerto into a piano piece called The Blue Bamboula).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 07, 2007, 04:46:17 PM
That being said, how many Wuorinen pieces from the 60's do you listen to often?  It always seemed to me that the earlier work was in an awkward space - trying for traditional aesthetic goals with a very complex serial language - similar to some of the same problems that Schoenberg had.  The works seem to lack the unifying gestures that Boulez or Wolpe would have with similar pitch and rhythmic material.  It is with his later music like the Mass for the Restoration of St. Lukes where Wuorinen comes into his own (although I like Speculum Speculi quite a bit), because at the bottom of it he is a damn fine melodist (the Mendelssohn analogy seems particularly apt) who perhaps could not quite find his way in the avant guard environment of the 60's and early 70's. 
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on September 08, 2007, 05:15:43 AM
I do revisit Ringing Changes from time to time, but that is from 1970, so I wonder if that doesn't underscore the point  8)

The Chamber Concerto for Cello and 10 Players (1963), though, I remember finding a strong and likeable piece.  I think I'll revisit both these pieces today . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Catison on September 08, 2007, 05:58:02 AM
That being said, how many Wuorinen pieces from the 60's do you listen to often?

Many of you know what a supporter of Babbitt I am.  But it was not until I heard Time's Encomium that I really understood the pure electronic noise music of the 60's.  That piece really did deserve the Pulitzer it earned.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: gomro on September 08, 2007, 05:29:22 PM
That being said, how many Wuorinen pieces from the 60's do you listen to often?  It always seemed to me that the earlier work was in an awkward space - trying for traditional aesthetic goals with a very complex serial language - similar to some of the same problems that Schoenberg had.  The works seem to lack the unifying gestures that Boulez or Wolpe would have with similar pitch and rhythmic material.  It is with his later music like the Mass for the Restoration of St. Lukes where Wuorinen comes into his own (although I like Speculum Speculi quite a bit), because at the bottom of it he is a damn fine melodist (the Mendelssohn analogy seems particularly apt) who perhaps could not quite find his way in the avant guard environment of the 60's and early 70's. 

Prior to 1979, I considered Wuorinen an interesting but unessential composer. With the appearance of the Two Part Symphony, though, something subtly changed in Wuorinen's work. I've never been able to put my finger on it, but something within his music opened up, drew me in, made the works more than complicated musical acrostics. His music is now a cornerstone of my diet; there are more pieces that I return to again and again than I can list, but among them are New York Notes, The Mission of Virgil, Mass, Genesis, all of the delightfully eccentric Trios for various instruments... I have hoped for a recording of the opera Haroun and the Sea Of Stories, but so far only The Haroun Songbook, generated from the operatic material, has made it to disc.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on September 10, 2007, 02:54:27 PM
I must go back to Time's Encomium and listen again.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: gomro on September 10, 2007, 04:52:14 PM
Many of you know what a supporter of Babbitt I am.  But it was not until I heard Time's Encomium that I really understood the pure electronic noise music of the 60's.  That piece really did deserve the Pulitzer it earned.

I have been told that it received that prize, in part, because within it were recognizable themes that could be whistled or hummed -- and were whistled and hummed by one of the judges, to prove that point.  It isn't really a favorite piece of mine; the musical composition itself is beautiful and complex, but the timbre of the ancient RCA Synthesizer colours the whole enterprise with a clattering racket worse than any 8-bit Nintendo game.   

I don't believe Wuorinen has written any more major pieces for tape alone, but New York Notes, for chamber ensemble and digitally generated sounds on tape, is a favorite.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: bwv 1080 on September 12, 2007, 02:44:35 PM
but the timbre of the ancient RCA Synthesizer colours the whole enterprise with a clattering racket worse than any 8-bit Nintendo game.   



Never could get past that myself.  Same with Babbitt's Philomel.  Perhaps Wuorinen could arrange it for some other instrumentation
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on September 14, 2007, 09:01:06 AM
Naxos will issue the complete Dante Trilogy with first releases of live recordings of Oliver Knussen and The Group for Contemporary Music performing The Great Procession and The River of Light . . . full press release is attached.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: gomro on September 14, 2007, 12:54:26 PM
Naxos will issue the complete Dante Trilogy with first releases of live recordings of Oliver Knussen and The Group for Contemporary Music performing The Great Procession and The River of Light . . . full press release is attached.

Not to gaze into the mandibles of a donated equus, but I wish that Mission of Virgil was a recording of the orchestrated version, rather than a remaster of the two-piano reduction released on Koch some time ago. That's a really fine work, one I can listen to again and again, but I'd sure like to hear it with Wuorinen's incredible sense of orchestral colour evident.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: gomro on September 24, 2007, 01:42:31 PM
I do revisit Ringing Changes from time to time, but that is from 1970, so I wonder if that doesn't underscore the point  8)

The Chamber Concerto for Cello and 10 Players (1963), though, I remember finding a strong and likeable piece.  I think I'll revisit both these pieces today . . . .

Yesterday I put my complete Wuorinen collection (with the exception of Cyclops 2000 and Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky, which I haven't ripped yet)on the mp3 player, for commute listening (I have a pretty long trip). The Chamber Concerto and Ringing Changes are, of course, among the works there, but today's trip was spent revisiting Genesis and Mass, absolutely incredible works that not only exemplify Wuorinen's melodic artistry, but also his skillful writing for voices, creating a beautiful yet massive sound, where no voice sounds forced or ragged.  I'd definitely recommend those works for anyone seeking Intro To Wuorinen 101.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Brewski on September 25, 2007, 09:23:02 AM
According to a column in today's New York Daily News, Wuorinen is going to do the operatic version of Brokeback Mountain.  (I'm not sure I can visualize the story as an opera, but there you go.) 

The complete story here (http://www.nydailynews.com/gossip/r_m/2007/09/25/2007-09-25_charlie_sheen__denise_richards_its_war.html).

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: gomro on February 16, 2008, 03:49:26 PM
Naxos will issue the complete Dante Trilogy with first releases of live recordings of Oliver Knussen and The Group for Contemporary Music performing The Great Procession and The River of Light . . . full press release is attached.

I purchased the Dante Trilogy last week; as mentioned earlier, I was very familiar with the two-piano version of Mission of Virgil, but the other two pieces (scored for chamber ensemble; who knows if the orchestral versions will ever be recorded) were unknown quantities -- but they are fantastic.  Sorta Bartoky...Stravinskoid...a little Schoenbergish in places... but all of it very, very much Wuorinen, with his usual complex counterpoint, catchy rhythms, inimitable sense of "atonal melody" and exquisite orchestration. It's on Naxos, so there's no reason not to have one! Beautiful! Perfect "Intro to Wuorinen" disc, too.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on February 16, 2008, 04:35:37 PM
I must go back to Time's Encomium and listen again.
wasn't that the electronic piece with lots of spacing stuff going on?
i listened to that once a long time ago and loved it! Found it very fascinating, but now i've forgotten that piece even existed......
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on February 17, 2008, 05:48:59 AM
I purchased the Dante Trilogy last week; as mentioned earlier, I was very familiar with the two-piano version of Mission of Virgil, but the other two pieces (scored for chamber ensemble; who knows if the orchestral versions will ever be recorded) were unknown quantities -- but they are fantastic.  Sorta Bartoky...Stravinskoid...a little Schoenbergish in places... but all of it very, very much Wuorinen, with his usual complex counterpoint, catchy rhythms, inimitable sense of "atonal melody" and exquisite orchestration. It's on Naxos, so there's no reason not to have one! Beautiful! Perfect "Intro to Wuorinen" disc, too.

It is terrific;  I fetched in a copy from Borders before it had quite cooled on the shelf.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on February 17, 2008, 05:49:50 AM
wasn't that the electronic piece with lots of spacing stuff going on?
i listened to that once a long time ago and loved it! Found it very fascinating, but now i've forgotten that piece even existed......

Yes, that was the piece which earned the Pulitzer. I need to give that a fresh listen . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on April 01, 2008, 11:23:44 AM
Fans of this composer may be interested in a new Naxos issue: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559377

Incidentally, when I searched for wuorinen to find this thread, GMG informed me: You may have meant to search for whoring.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Brewski on April 01, 2008, 11:25:40 AM
Fans of this composer may be interested in a new Naxos issue: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559377

Incidentally, when I searched for wuorinen to find this thread, GMG informed me: You may have meant to search for whoring.

The new disc looks great...but your comment made me burst out laughing!  ("Rob, Rob...what kind of wacko software are you using?"   ;D)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Joe Barron on April 01, 2008, 01:22:23 PM
Weird. I was  looking for whoring and it sent me here ...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Brewski on April 01, 2008, 01:35:23 PM
I just searched for Martinů...and it suggested "martini."  ;D

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: toledobass on April 01, 2008, 02:26:36 PM
Whores and martinis.....I dig on the GMG.

Allan
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: gomro on April 01, 2008, 04:11:06 PM
Fans of this composer may be interested in a new Naxos issue: http://www.naxos.com/catalogue/item.asp?item_code=8.559377

Incidentally, when I searched for wuorinen to find this thread, GMG informed me: You may have meant to search for whoring.

Whoring aside, I was just preparing to post a message about the advent of this disc when I ran across yours. Gotta git wuna dose!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on April 01, 2008, 04:48:50 PM
Cheesing is dangerous.
(http://www.charleswuorinen.com/media/photos/downloadPhotos/cw02.jpg)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 02, 2008, 03:20:42 AM
I just searched for Martinů...and it suggested "martini."  ;D

Who you trying to kid, Bruce? You were searching for "martini"!  ;D
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 02, 2008, 03:21:07 AM
Anyone heard Cyclops?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on May 13, 2008, 08:45:38 AM
Premiere of Wuorinen's Syntaxis in Carnegie Hall, as observed by our own Bruce. (http://www.musicweb-international.com/SandH/2008/Jan-Jun08/orpheus1005.htm)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on June 08, 2008, 03:32:36 PM
News of Wuorinen's next opera: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/theatre/story/2008/06/08/brokeback-opera.html
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on June 09, 2008, 01:21:26 PM
News of Wuorinen's next opera: http://www.cbc.ca/arts/theatre/story/2008/06/08/brokeback-opera.html
hmmmmmm remind me to get the CD, but NOT the DVD to this one  8)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 22, 2009, 09:59:16 AM
We never did link this (http://www.nytimes.com/2007/01/28/arts/music/28smit.html?_r=1), did we?

Quote
A Serialist Island Thrives in a Sea of Minimalism
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 22, 2009, 10:02:28 AM
Quote from: Steve Smith
Recordings of large-scale pieces like the ones Mr. Levine has championed have been harder to come by. But there is cause for hope.

“We have media agreements in Boston which will allow us to do this properly,” Mr. Levine said. “By ‘properly,’ I mean not that great rarity when we could put a symphony orchestra in the studio. But we can keep improving our live performances and the way they’re recorded, and make available in all kinds of ways recordings of live things.”

Now that BSO Classics has started to roll out recordings of the live performances, I avidly await the availability of the Fourth Concerto and the Eighth Symphony Theologoumena.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 22, 2009, 11:41:10 AM
Wuorinen is the poster child for wearing one set of glasses on your nose, and another on your forehead!

I have SQ No.1 w/ Fine Arts Quartet (1970)...me no likey...at all.

But the Koch discs...trios,quintets,sextets,quartets...me likey. I love it when composers finally get their stride on.

But the Brokeback Mountain thing...oy! He IS, isn't he?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on April 22, 2009, 12:19:37 PM
Quote
But the Brokeback Mountain thing...oy! He IS, isn't he?
Does he do the hand motions-thing when he talks, Karl?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 23, 2009, 04:12:39 AM
I have SQ No.1 w/ Fine Arts Quartet (1970)...me no likey...at all.

But the Koch discs...trios,quintets,sextets,quartets...me likey. I love it when composers finally get their stride on.

I need to revisit the First Quartet!  I don't remember disliking it.  Certainly do enjoy the Second.

Quote
But the Brokeback Mountain thing...oy! He IS, isn't he?

I've never had any occasion to speculate on the matter.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 23, 2009, 04:45:45 AM
Affirmed: the Second Quartet is top-shelf Wuorinen.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Josquin des Prez on April 23, 2009, 05:49:56 AM
But the Brokeback Mountain thing...oy! He IS, isn't he?

Whether he is or he isn't, why set to music such a piece of trash? You'd think an artist of his reputation would have some standards.

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 23, 2009, 05:55:52 AM
Whether he is or he isn't, why set to music such a piece of trash?

One of the historical lessons of opera is, that a superly written opera transcends flaws from the literary source.

(Mind you, I have no opinion on the Proulx in this case, having neither read the book nor seen the film.)

Quote
You'd think an artist of his reputation would have some standards.

Per the above, the selection of source here is absolutely no reflection on Wuorinen as an artist.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on April 23, 2009, 06:24:40 AM
Whether he is or he isn't, why set to music such a piece of trash? You'd think an artist of his reputation would have some standards.

As if most repertoire operas were based on the highest quality original sources.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 23, 2009, 07:59:57 AM
Manson!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 25, 2009, 01:53:04 PM
Dear Mr. Henning,
       You were listening to SQ No.2? The only recording on Koch w/Harvey and Peterson? What do you think of Wayne Peterson's Pulitzer Prize winning SQ? I forget what it sounds like (had that cd a long time ago, want it, but won't pay more than $1).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 25, 2009, 06:20:06 PM
I've got that quartet on the Naxos reissue, which is All Wuorinen All the Time . . . don't know the Peterson.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on April 29, 2009, 11:18:27 AM
Whores and martinis.....I dig on the GMG.

Allan
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2009, 03:41:08 AM
Quote from: k a rl h e nn i ng
I need to revisit the First Quartet!

And here we are, today.  I do like this!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on May 01, 2009, 04:20:23 AM
This is quite possibly the first time I've listened to the first quartet, though I've owned this disc for perhaps a decade (the disc is the Music & Arts compilation Charles Wuorinen: Music of Decades Vol. III, of which the first track is Time's Encomium . . . what I imagine happened is, I listened to the electronic piece, stopped the disc to digest, went on to listen to something else as a 'palate-cleanser' . . . and I just happened not to have gone back).

Anyway . . . fun piece. The first movement begins with a short gesture which repeats, and repeats . . . he wrote this in 1971, and what I can imagine is, in those days of the first big wave of publicity of the New York minimalists — Steve Reich's Four Organs and Phase Patterns date from 1970, Drumming from 1970-71, and Four Organs was premiered at the Guggenheim in May of 1970 — anyway, I wonder if the opening of the first movement is his own creative response to what was 'in the air'. The second movement opens with an oscillating minor tenth, which in the event does not repeat so much as the gesture opening the first movement. At the start of the third, the cello seizes the stage with a sort of Nicht diese töne recitative. And the last two minutes of the piece are dominated by a motoric repeated-note loop of the sort which (anachronistically) recalls Reich's The Desert Music (of 1984, but other pieces of Reich's, too, no doubt).

Just one angle of the quartet, to be sure; another piece I shall need to revisit a few times.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on June 19, 2009, 06:11:16 AM
And (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,92.msg322542.html#msg322542) here.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Catison on June 19, 2009, 06:28:41 AM
And (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,92.msg322542.html#msg322542) here.

Heh.  I had trouble finding where to put that post, considering it was about Stravinsky, Wuorinen, and Henning.  So I chose Henning.

In other news, I am listening to The Golden Dance (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg322593.html#msg322593).  First time Friday!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on June 19, 2009, 06:41:37 AM
Heh.  I had trouble finding where to put that post, considering it was about Stravinsky, Wuorinen, and Henning.  So I chose Henning.

And warmly appreciated, thanks!

Quote from: C Forever
In other news, I am listening to The Golden Dance (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,9.msg322593.html#msg322593).  First time Friday!

That was originally issued on the same CD as the Third Concerto.  Beautiful!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on June 21, 2009, 04:46:25 AM
This is quite possibly the first time I've listened to the first quartet, though I've owned this disc for perhaps a decade (the disc is the Music & Arts compilation Charles Wuorinen: Music of Decades Vol. III, of which the first track is Time's Encomium . . . what I imagine happened is, I listened to the electronic piece, stopped the disc to digest, went on to listen to something else as a 'palate-cleanser' . . . and I just happened not to have gone back).

Did you listen to this with headphones on?  8)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on June 21, 2009, 04:54:52 AM
At times.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on June 22, 2009, 04:27:11 AM
That's the way to go. I loved hearing the sound travel back and forth from the left side to the right- very different, trippy musical experience.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: donaldopato on June 22, 2009, 06:19:12 AM
Our local orchestra did his "Flying to Kahani" Concerto for Piano and Orchestra with Peter Serkin as solo. Here is my impression from my "review" on my blog:

Years ago, while an undergraduate, I managed to infiltrate a seminar taught by the gregarious and prolific Mr. Wuorinen. Fluent in every form from electronic music (his passion when I met him in 1977, he had won a Pulitzer for his electronic composition Time's Encomium) to symphonies (8 or so by now) and chamber music (his Sextet and String Quartet # 2 are wonderful), Wuorinen was a riveting speaker and quite approachable. I remember him telling the assembled students (among them graduate vocal student Jerry Hadley {RIP}), to explore and use the new media of electronics and to not be afraid of new sounds and forms. Thus, I was so prepared to enjoy Flying to Kahani, a piece written for Serkin and based on a story by Salman Rushdie.

Composed in 2005 for Peter Serkin, "Kahani" is the undiscovered second moon of Earth in Rushdie's novel "Haroun and the Sea of Stories" which Wuorinen set as an opera. In the opera Haroun and a companion fly a mechanical bird to fly to this hidden moon. As they approach their destination they discover a vast sea called Kahani, the "Ocean of the Streams of Story", from which all stories come.

A poetic program for a sadly dreary, dry and mechanical serialist work, in the most academic manner imaginable. Wide leaps from the piano, accompanied by snarls from the orchestra, pounding chords from the extreme registers of the piano over skittering figures from strings and braying brass characterized "Kahani". I felt no connection to the program or any sense of wonder and discovery in this piece that out did anything Roger Sessions or Elliot Carter ever penned. I am sure Serkin and the orchestra played the heck out of it; the performance sounded well prepared and committed. It just did little for me at all.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 04:35:20 AM
. . . I felt no connection to the program or any sense of wonder and discovery in this piece that out did anything Roger Sessions or Elliot Carter ever penned.

Would it be necessary to "outdo" Sessions or Carter?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 06:23:38 AM
Cheesing is dangerous.

Beg pardon?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Josquin des Prez on July 06, 2009, 06:25:28 AM
Beg pardon?

Some South Park reference. You don't want to know.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on July 06, 2009, 06:52:50 AM
Ah.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on July 06, 2009, 09:25:53 AM
I need to spend more time with the Naxos recording of the Dante trilogy. Both times I've tried to listen to it thus far, I keep getting interrupted.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: greg on July 06, 2009, 03:08:01 PM
Some South Park reference. You don't want to know.
Lol. It's this: provoking a male cat to mark its territory on your face, thus making you get high.
Eventually, they had made owning a cat illegal, so Cartman (the kid who idolizes Hitler and hates Jews) had to create a refuge in his attic for all of the neighborhood cats so that when the cops came, they couldn't find them and take them away. 
 
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on July 07, 2009, 02:29:16 AM
He was right: I didn't want to know  8)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on July 07, 2009, 02:30:36 AM
I need to spend more time with the Naxos recording of the Dante trilogy. Both times I've tried to listen to it thus far, I keep getting interrupted.

I find that it rewards attention. Or, non-interrupted attention. Well, generally, I find it rewarding, anyway.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Catison on November 10, 2009, 06:14:42 PM
Anyone have news of the Cowboy opera?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Catison on November 11, 2009, 08:00:54 AM
Last night I listened to Time's Encomium again.  This time on my speakers, which is a different experience.  I still really love this piece.  I think it works, whereas most other pieces of electronic music fail, because of the episodic nature of the piece.  The electronic timbre of the music is completely foreign to most listeners, and the various episodes allows the listener catch his breath and learn the sound as the piece organically develops. 

I also found it interesting that Time's Encomium was commissioned by Teresa Sterne for Nonesuch Records.  I didn't know that record companies commissioned music before the Naxos Quartets, but I guess I stand corrected.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 11, 2009, 08:13:21 AM
Anyone have news of the Cowboy opera?

Only old news:

Quote from: http://www.charleswuorinen.com/
Wuorinen is at work on an opera based on Annie Proulx’s short story BROKBACK MOUNTAIN.

Libretto written by Annie Proulx. Premiere in 2013. More details forthcoming.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CD on November 11, 2009, 09:02:49 AM
I have the Tzadik disc with Time's Encomium and New York Notes on the way to me, will be sure to post a review once I've listened.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on September 23, 2010, 08:09:33 AM
Spinning off from discussion of Ross in The Carter Corner . . . here are the two appearances of Wuorinen's name in The Rest Is Noise . . . of course, one of the two, he's just an item in a list:
 
Quote from: Alex Ross

Carter and Babbitt set the pace for a small army of American atonal and twelve-tone composers: Ralph Shapey, Charles Wuorinen, George Perle, Arthur Berger, Harvey Sollberger, Andrew Imbrie, Leon Kirchner, and Donald Martino, among others. Their ranks were augmented by émigré followers of Schoenberg, notably Stefan Wolpe, transplanted from Berlin to New York, and Ernst Krenek, transplanted from Vienna to Los Angeles. At one time or another the above-named taught at such leading universities as Harvard, Yale, Princeton, Columbia, the University of Chicago, and the University of California, Berkeley.


These composers thrived on campus because of the undeniable intellectual solidity of their project: behind the modernity of the language was a traditional emphasis on the arts of variation and counterpoint.  Commentators tended to lump them into the uninviting category “academic atonal” or “academic twelve-tone,” although each had a strong personality: Shapey, with his way of arranging jagged sonorities in a ritualistic procession; Wuorinen, with his flair for instrumental drama and his tonal surprises; Berger and Perle, with their love of clean melodic lines and euphonious chords. The average listener could, however, be pardoned for confusing them. Eschewing the audience-friendly gestures of the Copland era, they seemed concerned above all with self-preservation, with building a safe nest in a hostile world. Their theoretical essays could be interpreted as so much barbed wire to keep untrustworthy strangers at bay.

In 1958, Babbitt enlivened the pages of High Fidelity magazine with an essay notoriously headlined “Who Cares If You Listen?” . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on September 23, 2010, 08:15:33 AM
I have the Tzadik disc with Time's Encomium and New York Notes on the way to me, will be sure to post a review once I've listened.

Must have arrived, yes? : )
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Josquin des Prez on September 23, 2010, 08:25:57 AM
If he values his integrity as a composer, he should not got through with this abomination.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Joe Barron on September 23, 2010, 12:45:49 PM
Quote from: Alex Ross
In 1958, Babbitt enlivened the pages of High Fidelity magazine with an essay notoriously headlined “Who Cares If You Listen?” . . . .

What pisses me off about this is that everyone remembers the title, and no one bothers to discuss what Babbitt actually wrote. (And he disavowed the title, which was apparently the work of an editor.) I would expect a critic like Ross to dig a little deeper. And if people can be forgiven for confusing Babbitt and Carter, I would guess they could also be forgiven for confusing Haydn and Mozart.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CD on September 23, 2010, 01:50:18 PM
Must have arrived, yes? : )

Haha, oh yes, marvelous disc. I may give New York Notes another spin today.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 15, 2010, 04:31:58 AM
[cross-post]
 
Perhaps ten years ago (could it have been that long?) I fetched in (via BRO) a Wuorinen disc with Five and Archeaopteryx.  I am not quite certain, now, of the circumstances, but I let that disc go.  May not have grabbed my ear at first; and where normally I should have let the disc sit, and try it again later . . . .

Anyway, I found a new cut-out copy on amazon. Sold, it seems, by Wuorinen's agent, Howard Stokar.  Just waiting for it to land, now.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 15, 2010, 06:46:06 AM
Anyone have news of the Cowboy opera?

The inaugural production has been pushed out a year:

Quote from: http://www.charleswuorinen.com/
Wuorinen is at work on an opera based on Annie Proulx’s short story BROKBACK MOUNTAIN.

Libretto written by Annie Proulx. Premiere in Spring 2014. More details forthcoming.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 15, 2010, 06:49:08 AM
A Tanglewood première next summer (http://www.charleswuorinen.com/press/Tate_2011.pdf).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on November 15, 2010, 11:52:25 AM
If he values his integrity as a composer, he should not got through with this abomination.

It's a post-911 world.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 17, 2010, 06:34:15 AM
As a result of posting a (partial) YouTube of Five on Philo's Only the New thread here (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,17509.msg465017.html#msg465017), I realized the keen necessity of fetching in a recording of the whole work.  Listening to it today, I then went on to an earlier work composed for Fred Sherry, the Chamber Concerto for vc & ten players. On the way, I revisited the Grand Bamboula, which opens the disc with the Chamber Cto on it.
 
I really hadn't set out deliberately on an all-Wuorinen listening day, but it's all so deliciously cool . . . can't stop.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 17, 2010, 07:09:00 AM
Too much fun . . . guess which Wuorinen piece to which these remarks refer:

Quote
The [ insert name of piece here ] is utterly serious in its development of sparse and dense textures, and seems theoretical and abstract; yet the [ insert name of performing ensemble here ]'s impassioned and sensitive playing lends an emotional dimension that softens the work's harder edges.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Josquin des Prez on November 17, 2010, 08:01:57 AM
What's your relation to Wuorinen Karl? He's one of the few modern composers i've actually been able to listen to in a consistent manner. He's a bit similar to Rihm, not necessarily in style, but in how his music is complex, without necessarily being inaccessible.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on November 17, 2010, 08:05:25 AM
I studied with him when I was in Buffalo; he was a visiting professor (actually on the faculty of Rutgers at the time, I believe).  I've been in infrequent contact with him since.  Met him backstage at Symphony Hall on the occasion of the premières of the Fourth Piano Concerto and the Eighth Symphony.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on November 17, 2010, 09:58:32 AM
What's your relation to Wuorinen Karl? He's one of the few modern composers i've actually been able to listen to in a consistent manner. He's a bit similar to Rihm, not necessarily in style, but in how his music is complex, without necessarily being inaccessible.

I agree. I've been collecting that Koch series, and it's addicting:

Trios
New York Notes, Sextet, A Winter's Tale
Piano Qnt, Percussion Qrt, etc,...

I suppose the "Five" cd is next,... and the violin/cello disc.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Brewski on April 29, 2011, 11:41:14 AM
I recall some people were interested in this new Wuorinen recording on Naxos, so here's my review:

http://www.juilliard.edu/journal/2010-2011/1105/articles/discoveries.php

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: karlhenning on July 07, 2011, 03:30:00 AM
Whatever happened to Wuorinen's opera "Brokeback Mountain"? The MET cancelled their production, then it sank out of sight.

Did they?  Charles's site announces a January 2014 première.

He's got a new piece on at Tanglewood this summer.  Busy fellow!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on July 07, 2011, 05:36:14 AM
Did they?  Charles's site announces a January 2014 première.

He's got a new piece on at Tanglewood this summer.  Busy fellow!


C'mon apocalypse,... come on... come on,... just a little quicker...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Amfortas on July 07, 2011, 05:40:17 AM
Did they?  Charles's site announces a January 2014 première.

He's got a new piece on at Tanglewood this summer.  Busy fellow!


So it was postponed, not canceled. Thanks for the info.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on March 30, 2012, 08:49:43 PM
Why have I been thinking about him lately? Is that... gulp, Opera coming out soon? :o
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 07, 2012, 08:54:43 PM
I now have five of the Koch discs devoted to Wuorinen, basically all the Chamber Works that they recorded. I just got the 'Tashi' release, and I found it one of the weaker installments, the work Tashi alone, in Messiaen formation, is 30 minutes of Uptown Serialism that seemed maybe a bit big for the forces involved; very busy, like Schoenberg's Serenade, but twice as busy. I didn't really get this expecting miracles, so I'm not going to be hard on him.

I haven't really concentrated on some of these,... there's New York Notes, the Piano Quintet, the 'Trios' cd,... there's a lot of stuff here, about 25 works, so, when I'm feeling haughty! ;)...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: PaulSC on April 08, 2012, 11:26:11 AM
Does that set of disks give you NY Notes in both the instruments-alone version and the version with tape? I know it's available both ways, but I don't recall the labels of each release. Anyway, I much prefer the instruments-alone version. The tape part doesn't offer much beauty on a purely sensory level, and it makes the piece as a whole field oversaturated to me. The relatively transparent instrumental version appeals to me more.

The Violin Sonata with Hudson and Ohlsson is a highlight for me among all CW's chamber music. (I think that Sonata is on a Bridge Records release?)
Title: Re: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 09, 2012, 02:02:15 AM
I didn't really get this expecting miracles, so I'm not going to be hard on him.

Well, Charles will be relieved.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 09, 2012, 05:39:58 AM
Does that set of disks give you NY Notes in both the instruments-alone version and the version with tape? I know it's available both ways, but I don't recall the labels of each release. Anyway, I much prefer the instruments-alone version. The tape part doesn't offer much beauty on a purely sensory level, and it makes the piece as a whole field oversaturated to me. The relatively transparent instrumental version appeals to me more.

The Violin Sonata with Hudson and Ohlsson is a highlight for me among all CW's chamber music. (I think that Sonata is on a Bridge Records release?)

I have the A/E version.

I think the VS is on that NewWorld disc with SQ 3.

Well, Charles will be relieved.

Well, I wasn't expecting the work Tashi to be 30 minutes long...

Wuorinen certainly IS a craftsman, but do you find him transcendental?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 09, 2012, 05:52:04 AM
I find that Wuorinen is an artist, and that his art is very well made.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 09, 2012, 09:55:54 AM
. . . I just got the 'Tashi' release, and I found it one of the weaker installments, the work Tashi alone, in Messiaen formation, is 30 minutes of Uptown Serialism that seemed maybe a bit big for the forces involved; very busy, like Schoenberg's Serenade, but twice as busy.

You’re nudging me to revisit that piece (I picked up the Naxos reissue of Tashi, some little time ago), snypsss. I don’t remember finding it at all objectionable in the way you suggest.

I’ve found many a Wuorinen piece which I liked straight off.  But there are also pieces which didn’t ‘take’ on one hearing, to which I needed afterwards to return. Nor have I observed any obvious pattern there . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 09, 2012, 04:59:02 PM
I find that Wuorinen is an artist, and that his art is very well made.

fair enough then, I'll agree there


You’re nudging me to revisit that piece (I picked up the Naxos reissue of Tashi, some little time ago), snypsss. I don’t remember finding it at all objectionable in the way you suggest.

I’ve found many a Wuorinen piece which I liked straight off.  But there are also pieces which didn’t ‘take’ on one hearing, to which I needed afterwards to return. Nor have I observed any obvious pattern there . . . .


I listened again to Tashi yesterday,...c'mon, you've got to admit... it's the '70s, Stoltzman is in your ear, egging you on to write a Serial Symphony Masterpiece for the Messiaen grouping, and you end up with a veritable tapestry of notes, from beginning to end,... in a way I smiled at its gumption, but I still found it charmingly naive,... I'll give him that it takes a dedicated person to write down all those notes, and pack practically every measure with lots of notes,... mm,... I certainly won't call him clumsy or anything, he has technique and knows how to use it, though, check... oh, the Violin Variations (1972) aren't on your Naxos reissue, are they? Anyhow, that one I might have found a bit 'young' and slightly clumsy sounding, and I did find Tashi a bit... profuse!..., but I like the arc of his growth in the '80s,... like many Composers in the day, the years '87-'93, seem to point to particularly fertile pastures.

I'm rambling, but,,,, anyhow, we continue listening! ;) 8)

I find him like a less lurching Carter, smoother rhythmically. Is that fair? Oh, and he can play, so his music does have that feel going for it (in everything I've heard, now that I'm thinking) of a player leading the proceedings.

But, I mean, there's no 'heart attack' in his music, such as in the Schoenberg String Trio,... Wuorinen's not 'dark' at all, though, he's not 'light' in any sense,... he's 'busy'/'dense', but in a detached and not emotional way?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 10, 2012, 03:39:49 AM
fair enough then, I'll agree there

I listened again to Tashi yesterday,...c'mon, you've got to admit... it's the '70s, Stoltzman is in your ear, egging you on to write a Serial Symphony Masterpiece for the Messiaen grouping, and you end up with a veritable tapestry of notes, from beginning to end,... in a way I smiled at its gumption, but I still found it charmingly naive,... I'll give him that it takes a dedicated person to write down all those notes, and pack practically every measure with lots of notes,... mm,... I certainly won't call him clumsy or anything, he has technique and knows how to use it, though, check... oh, the Violin Variations (1972) aren't on your Naxos reissue, are they? Anyhow, that one I might have found a bit 'young' and slightly clumsy sounding, and I did find Tashi a bit... profuse!..., but I like the arc of his growth in the '80s,... like many Composers in the day, the years '87-'93, seem to point to particularly fertile pastures.

I'm rambling, but,,,, anyhow, we continue listening! ;) 8)

I find him like a less lurching Carter, smoother rhythmically. Is that fair? Oh, and he can play, so his music does have that feel going for it (in everything I've heard, now that I'm thinking) of a player leading the proceedings.

But, I mean, there's no 'heart attack' in his music, such as in the Schoenberg String Trio,... Wuorinen's not 'dark' at all, though, he's not 'light' in any sense,... he's 'busy'/'dense', but in a detached and not emotional way?

Well, I cannot yet speak properly to Tashi, as I’ve not been able to return to it (happily, I was engaged in rehearsal of my own music last night).  I find Charles’s music active, nervy, athletic, even at a slow tempoSchoenberg’s music is certainly Romantic (even when not genuinely Expressionistic) than that of Charles.  But I am leery of agreeing to the adjective “unemotional” for his work, unless we acknowledge that (as with the music of Bach) this is a neutral adjective, and in no way any musical defect.

There is no lack of music from the 70s — nor indeed, of music composed since the 70s which seems locked in that era, conceptually — which I find tiresome.  Here, though, is where (just from hearing the music, which strikes a chord for me) Charles stands well out from the pack. Where (to speak figuratively) “the seven dwarfs” give us (yea, give with both hands) dry note-spinning, and the sort of music which provokes the rhetorical question Who Cares If You Write?, in Charles’s work I hear exuberance, joy, confidence — the man is a Haydn for our day, I tell ya.

Look, you're a string quartet obsessor, ain’tcha? Have you heard the second and fourth quartets (recordings below)? The Sextet?  I find it hard to imagine (I mean, to imagine someone who, roughly like myself, has ears well open to late-20th-c. music) hearing these and not responding with (at the least) involuntary toe-tapping.




Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 10, 2012, 03:41:42 AM
Corrigendum

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 10, 2012, 04:44:16 AM
Fetched this in via download:



. . . even though I suspect I already have the First Quartet, on one of those Music of Three Decades discs (the risk with these Naxos repackagings). No matter, happy to support the Foundation.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 10, 2012, 04:56:32 AM
I hear exuberance, joy, confidence — the man is a Haydn for our day, I tell ya.

Look, you're a string quartet obsessor, ain’tcha? Have you heard the second and fourth quartets (recordings below)? The Sextet?  I find it hard to imagine (I mean, to imagine someone who, roughly like myself, has ears well open to late-20th-c. music) hearing these and not responding with (at the least) involuntary toe-tapping.


I'll agree with that first statement then.

Second, I've had that old Babbitt/Wuorinen SQ disc for years, and immediately responded to Babbitt, but rejected CW. Recently, I returned to the SQ 1, and enjoyed it more. I still haven't got the Koch with SQ 2 on it, but it's been on The List forever (the one with Harvey & Petersen). SQ 3, on NewWorld, has also been on The List forever. SQ 4, on the 'Alligator' disc, is a new one, but I'm certainly inclined to play catch up here.

I do have the Piano Quintet and Sextet and agree that his dense florid style is right at home here. Hey, I'm just pokin' fun,... cause after all, he IS the guy 'doing' Brokeback Mountain! :P Sorry, it's still funny.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 10, 2012, 05:07:04 AM
The On Alligators CD is entirely oojah-cum-spiff, including as it does the reissue of the Third Piano Concerto.
 
I'm not the soul to object to the odd poke of fun.  And, while one does find funny what one finds funny . . . I don't see anything particularly chuckliferous about the Brokeback Mtn project.  I have no toothpick in that petit-four . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 10, 2012, 05:19:25 AM
Quote
Time Regained, a fantasy for piano and orchestra
Description: For Peter Serkin and the MET Opera Orchestra, James Levine Music Director and Conductor. Based om materials from Machault to Gibbons.
Instrumentation: 3(Picc)3(EH)3(Bcl)3 4331 T,P(2),Hp,Str, Piano solo
Date: 2008
Duration (mmm:ss): 030:00

Man, what a cool piece this must be. Wonder if Jimmy actually done it, before his health failed . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 10, 2012, 07:35:46 PM
The On Alligators CD is entirely oojah-cum-spiff, including as it does the reissue of the Third Piano Concerto.
 
I'm not the soul to object to the odd poke of fun.  And, while one does find funny what one finds funny . . . I don't see anything particularly chuckliferous about the Brokeback Mtn project.  I have no toothpick in that petit-four . . . .

The Pup Tent Aria :-[ :P ;D


I was just thinking of an adaptation (Opera?, Film?, Blog?) of the story of Sodom & Gommorah, with, as a centerpiece, the violation of Lot's daughter by the entire city. Although not funny in the extreme, I was wondering how to turn tables and MAKE it funny. Carry On Sodom!! ;)

MAKE it funny Batman!! 8)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 11, 2012, 04:01:37 PM
Listened again to SQ 1, a piece that I just don't like now. Nope. It doesn't help that the old recording is so airtight and claustrophobic. The Sextet is such more of what I enjoy, a particularly well crafted and dense piece running for a perfect 19mins..
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 11, 2012, 05:26:07 PM
Sorry you don't like SQ 1. I certainly do. The Sextet is Tabasco, to be sure.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 26, 2012, 06:43:44 AM
Finally got SQ 2, on the Koch disc. Is that Joplin-meets-Feldman in the beginning ????? Seriously, just listen closely to the intro,... that's funny!! Yea, this piece is fine enough, very different from SQ 1.

Also, the piano Bagatelle (Serkin; Koch) was very nice, actually a bagatelle!, and not something dense that is ironically called a bagatelle. A very nice piece.

So I now have practically all the Koch discs (in their original covers of course, haha),... oh, I went back,... I liked the piece Fortune a whole lot better than Tashi. And I dipped into the 'Trios' album for the Horn Trio,... frankly, the Group for Contemporary Music is just a very good, intelligent group, and all their Koch discs are pretty well the best you're gonna get. I think I have everything except the Wolpe disc,... gotta love Feinberg,... and Hudson and Macomber... Sherry... it just goes on...

I have 27 works by CW!! :o. all Chamber Music!,... but actually, the Koch discs are all perfectly planned, a real good survey...

ok, enough ellipses, haha
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 26, 2012, 07:03:42 AM
I have 27 works by CW!! :o. all Chamber Music!,...

The Mass for the Restoration of St Luke's.  (Just saying.)

Oh, and I've revisited Tashi. I just don't know what your quarrel is, with the piece
; )
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 26, 2012, 07:04:31 AM
And, yes, that Bagatelle rocks!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on April 26, 2012, 06:22:57 PM
And, yes, that Bagatelle rocks!

What other piano music then? Aren't those two Feinberg discs almost the same (Bridge and Koch)? He seems to have a lot of little album leaf type stuff everywhere, too, no?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 27, 2012, 04:12:19 AM
Hm, I've not heard the Third Sonata, I don't think. The Blue Bamboula is charming.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: springrite on September 07, 2012, 02:38:45 AM
About a year after purchasing it, I have finally given this work a spin:

Wuorinen String Sextet.

I put this here instead of the listening thread because if I recalled correctly, it is the work that Karl mentioned while opening this thread. So I gave it a good listen. It is more conservative than I expected (or would have liked?), but the overall experience was not bad. I will listen to it again tonight after a shower and with some tea, on a headphone so as not to be disturbed.

Anything Karl loves deserves at least that.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on September 08, 2012, 06:34:54 AM
About a year after purchasing it, I have finally given this work a spin:

Wuorinen String Sextet.

I put this here instead of the listening thread because if I recalled correctly, it is the work that Karl mentioned while opening this thread. So I gave it a good listen. It is more conservative than I expected (or would have liked?), but the overall experience was not bad. I will listen to it again tonight after a shower and with some tea, on a headphone so as not to be disturbed.

Anything Karl loves deserves at least that.

It's the model of economic serialism, very neat and trimmed and Uptown, Schoenbergian to be sure.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on September 08, 2012, 06:47:16 AM
Dudes!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 14, 2013, 02:20:51 PM
Ha, 'Wuorinen' in the Search comes up with "Did you mean... whoring?"


Anyhow, I'm prepping for a Wuorinen String Quartet Analiz...bwah! :o, I mean, SQs 1-3,...

No.1 (1971; Music & Arts)

No.2 (1979; Koch Int'l)

No.3 (1987; NewWorld)

I already know that 1 & 2 both begin with a Feldman-meets-ragtime kind of shuffle, so, it'll be interesting how many features carry over. I'm more thinking No.2 will be the one I like best, due to its vintage.

Karl?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 14, 2013, 02:22:28 PM
I'm in.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on January 14, 2013, 02:48:18 PM
I am not certain if I own or have access to all three quartets; which I will need to rectify in any event.  But, I too will join in a Wuorinen quartetiad.

 :)

EDIT: After checking I do have all three and in fact two different recordings of #1.  I love the beginning of that one.

 :D
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 14, 2013, 06:51:46 PM
two different recordings of #1.  I love the beginning of that one.

 :D

No.1 Yea, ok, the beginning's cool, and the very end of the 3rd movement, when it all gets motoric,... but, generally, I never liked this piece, then I kind of liked it,... and today, I just didn't like it much at all (obviously I got it for the Babbitt). To me, it's just bust busy and kind of noisy and aggressive in a 1971 type of way,... it IS the very antipode of the Babbitt.

No.2 seems to start right where No.1 leaves off. The same nervous motor energy is there, after the cute Feldman-meets-shuffle introduction. I was starting to think this was my least favorite of the 'Golden Era' works around the late '70s-'80s, but, by the end, it had acquired quite a luminescent quality, a string of DNA rotating around and around.

Still, busyness (business) seems to be a hallmark of his work. This one, however, is very polished, unlike what I feel is a very raw quality to No.1 that I just don't like. After hearing most all of his other Chamber Music first, I'm kind of taken aback by the homogenous quality of his SQ here. It reminds me a bit of his String Sextet, too, though, that one maybe handles the string sonorities to a fuller extent, so that I don't feel like I'm missing something. I'm sure the 2nd will grow on me, but I think I'm just about done with No.1 (seriously, as a whole I just don't like it,... maybe the old recording is too dry?).

Hopefully, No.3 arrives tomorrow. I've never heard it. I'm going to assume it starts with the same type of loping figure that starts the previous two? (kind of like 'Happy Trails' by Babbitt, haha)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: PaulSC on January 14, 2013, 09:56:25 PM
Hopefully, No.3 arrives tomorrow. I've never heard it. I'm going to assume it starts with the same type of loping figure that starts the previous two? (kind of like 'Happy Trails' by Babbitt, haha)

If the incoming disc is the one on New World with SQ3, make some time for the Vn/Pno Sonata - one of his greatest works imo. In SQ3  he's playing with contrasts between chromatic- and diatonic-sounding material, and maybe that gets a bit heavy-handed in places; still good stuff. Without rehearing them back-to-back, I'd pick #2 as my favorite.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on January 15, 2013, 05:47:53 AM
If the incoming disc is the one on New World with SQ3, make some time for the Vn/Pno Sonata - one of his greatest works imo. In SQ3  he's playing with contrasts between chromatic- and diatonic-sounding material, and maybe that gets a bit heavy-handed in places; still good stuff. Without rehearing them back-to-back, I'd pick #2 as my favorite.

I agree, as I said in the WAYLT thread

Wuorinen: Chamber Works: Violin Sonata, Third String Quartet



Starting with the Violin Sonata, a very fine work and then on to the Third SQ.  A few of us are having a little Wuorinen Whirlygig SQ Festival.

 :D

 :)

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: springrite on January 15, 2013, 06:29:54 AM
I only have #3 so I will at least play that part...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 06:33:15 AM
Hm, I have been remiss, in part in getting stuff loaded onto the portable devices, and in part with fetching quartets in. I have nos. 1 & 4 readily accessible to-day; and I am somehow sure I have another quartet back at home . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on January 15, 2013, 06:56:25 AM
Hm, I have been remiss, in part in getting stuff loaded onto the portable devices, and in part with fetching quartets in. I have nos. 1 & 4 readily accessible to-day; and I am somehow sure I have another quartet back at home . . . .

You're right!  It had slipped my mind that there was a 4th SQ, which I have on On Alligators and so will complete the cycle - unless there is a 5th lurking around somewhere.

 ;)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 08:00:19 AM
No.1 Yea, ok, the beginning's cool, and the very end of the 3rd movement, when it all gets motoric,... but, generally, I never liked this piece, then I kind of liked it,... and today, I just didn't like it much at all (obviously I got it for the Babbitt). To me, it's just bust busy and kind of noisy and aggressive in a 1971 type of way[....]

Well, I truly don't know what to tell you, snypsss: I find this piece utterly engaging, and a simple joy to hear.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 08:24:14 AM
Indeed, the third movement of the First Quartet (quarter note = 60, Allegramente) strikes me as (if anything) having a sort of Shaker-Loops-before-its-time vibe.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 08:59:11 AM
Greg, this disc has the reissue of Garrick Ohlsson playing the Third Piano Concerto, which was the first Wuorinen piece I listened to attentively (followed along in score, in fact).  I never did locate the socks which were on that occasion knocked off.

My take is, the Quartet and Concerto are top-shelf Wuorinen, and the Natural Fantasy for organ and On Alligators are no less than very good.


I had a moderately uncomfortable feeling, Greg, that I was doing On Alligators a disservice, for it is a while since I listened to it.  So, I set myself to hear it again:  A very fine piece, indeed.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 09:05:18 AM
Indeed, the third movement of the First Quartet (quarter note = 60, Allegramente) strikes me as (if anything) having a sort of Shaker-Loops-before-its-time vibe.

Judging by SQ 1, I didn't know CW had any Minimalism in him. Huh!?! I think those parts are the best/most original bits. Sure, there are some nice octave displacements, but, at least on the old Music&Arts cd (rec. 1971?) the sound is verrry close, which surely highlights any grating harmonies. Do you have the Naxos, a new recording I believe? As I find No.2 a bit aggressive also, but don't have the 'problems' with that one, I might chalk up a good portion to the old recording.

Still, to me, in this recording, there is a dirty, feral, raw feeling that I don't like. I think I had a similar reaction to the Pulitzer winning Husa SQ No.3. AAAAAnyhow... I'd be interested in hearing the Naxos,... who knows?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 09:08:09 AM
You're right!  It had slipped my mind that there was a 4th SQ, which I have on On Alligators and so will complete the cycle - unless there is a 5th lurking around somewhere.

 ;)

Yes, I knew there was 4, but I forgot about that Tzadik release. Hmm, is it on YT? Checking...

Still, mail hasn't arrived yet with No.3. I'm chompin' to get outta here too.


If the incoming disc is the one on New World with SQ3, make some time for the Vn/Pno Sonata - one of his greatest works imo. In SQ3  he's playing with contrasts between chromatic- and diatonic-sounding material, and maybe that gets a bit heavy-handed in places; still good stuff. Without rehearing them back-to-back, I'd pick #2 as my favorite.

Yea, I'm probably more interested in the VS.


Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 09:10:07 AM
Judging by SQ 1, I didn't know CW had any Minimalism in him. Huh!?!

Well, repeated-note figures. I don't think the result in Charles's piece is quite minimalist ; )
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 09:24:36 AM
Well, repeated-note figures. I don't think the result in Charles's piece is quite minimalist ; )

After 1950, ANY repeated note figure is Minimalism! :-*

CW's thing here, though, sounds more like 10 seconds of a record skip,... that loping repeat,... actually very Feldmanesque,... was CW a fan?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 09:32:32 AM
I didn't ask him; offhand, I should not have thought him a fan. Considering that we worked together in Buffalo, if he had been a fan of Feldman, it had been odd for him never to mention the name.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 15, 2013, 09:51:47 AM
Tangentially, Archangel for trombone quintet (i.e., trombone and string quartet) is a beauty, too.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 06:46:04 PM
Tangentially, Archangel for trombone quintet (i.e., trombone and string quartet) is a beauty, too.

That Koch disc has also been in the rotation. Listened again to SQ 2: I'd say very rigorously modeled after Schoenberg 3-4,... you can hear little things here and there. SQ 2 is supremely balanced, Schoenberg w/o neurosis?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 09:12:43 PM
Finished the evening with the String Sextet, the fullest, most integrated and smooth, and generally nicest overall string work I've heard yet today (SQ No.3 didn't arrive). Also, in a 19min., one movement form, it's the model for Modern SS Nasterpiece: what other post-'50s SS comes to mind?

Realized if I din't cross that out you might start to wonder! ;) ;D night zZZZzzz...zzz..
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 15, 2013, 09:22:17 PM
Finished the evening with the String Sextet, the fullest, most integrated and smooth, and generally nicest overall string work I've heard yet today (SQ No.3 didn't arrive). Also, in a 19min., one movement form, it's the model for Modern SS Nasterpiece: what other post-'50s SS comes to mind?

Realized if I din't cross that out you might start to wonder! ;) ;D night zZZZzzz...zzz..

btw- the SS also ends with a similar allegro-repetition/variation as the other two works. Shall I predict that String Quartet 3 begins and ends in similar fashion?

Alligators cd seems like a no-brainer too.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 16, 2013, 03:07:20 AM
That Koch disc has also been in the rotation. Listened again to SQ 2: I'd say very rigorously modeled after Schoenberg 3-4,... you can hear little things here and there. SQ 2 is supremely balanced, Schoenberg w/o neurosis?

That's something of the idea. Wuorinen's music has the vigor, and exploration of Schoenberg; but Schoenberg's soundworld is very (that word again) expressive, dramatic, where Wuorinen writes en plein air.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 16, 2013, 10:30:51 AM
That's something of the idea. Wuorinen's music has the vigor, and exploration of Schoenberg; but Schoenberg's soundworld is very (that word again) expressive, dramatic, where Wuorinen writes en plein air.

Well, No.3's a bit more emotional sounding! Just got it in the mail.

Let's start with the bad news. OK, it's from 1987, not a great vintage for SQs by any stretch, it's on one Track for 30mins.,... did I mention it's from '87? And, to my chagrin, it does NOT begin as the other two, with a friendly, loping theme, but here we have full Carter aggression at the outset. This, along with the drizzly rain, and a 20min. drive, did not bode well.

So, now the good news. CW won me over with his slightly misterioso ending, where he begins to sound like Fred Lerdahl's SQ Triliogy (check them out on Bridge), with maybe a bit of Shosty in there? But, I felt there was a lot of academics here,... I'm sure I'll warm a little (more so than No.1 perhaps?),... I got the feeling that this was the big late-'80s piece, where everyone's just stretching out for the sake of it,... which is fine as long as you know what you're dealing with, otherwise, one might say, Oh, another half hour Modern angst-fest. Perhaps this was CW's big 'emotional' thing here? No.2 was certainly a lot more 'fun with notes', whereas here there seems to be an emotional agenda?

But, compared to the rest (Wernick, Wilson, Schuller, Martino, Lerdahl, Harbison, late Babbitt & Carter, Erb, Mamlok, etc.,...) this one has a good air about it. I'm still not a fan of the one Track thing, though,... 'cues' are always nice (hmm, Pettersson!).


Ok, so, I may continue this current Wuorinathon, but, I feel I may be past buying any more CW. I'm pretty satisfied I have most all of his Chamber Music from 'the' Period (basically, the Koch discs plus) that I like. CW, still, no matter what ya say, he's still a very very 'academic' Composer (see other Thread), and he seems firmly entrenched in the post-Stravinsky/Schoenberg idiom, slightly more Populist than Babbitt, less overtly thorny than Sessions,... more like one of the all encompassing types from the Roaring '20s (maybe not Antheil, but...). He knows enough to keep me interested,... the 'notes for notes' sake' thing I like better than the 'oh, just hear that one note shine' stuff (I LIKE 'notes' for my money,... usually, lots and lots,... haha, that IS funny,... think Mozart, haha).

Anyhow, the 3rd is the Big One. I think the 4th is more modest? So, we'll get back to the 3rd. Might go back to No.2 today...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 17, 2013, 08:51:17 AM
If the incoming disc is the one on New World with SQ3, make some time for the Vn/Pno Sonata - one of his greatest works imo. In SQ3  he's playing with contrasts between chromatic- and diatonic-sounding material, and maybe that gets a bit heavy-handed in places; still good stuff. Without rehearing them back-to-back, I'd pick #2 as my favorite.

Yea, the Violin Sonata was quite substantial. Nothing too extreme, just a... I do still hear a bit of Schoenberg's Fantasy(is that what it's called?)...

Generally, I'm not that into such 'competent' Composers,... all craft, no crazy,... Wuorinen has very good 'balance', which is what I look for in him,... a smooth, rounded, balanced serialism,... professional,... I don't want TOO many of these guys around, but CW has an 'encapsulated' feel that I can respond to. Otherwise, he can just sound busy to me.

But, the VS wasn't 'busy', it was... not 'relaxed', but it had transparency. I still have the Fast Fantasy to go (does that count as his 'Cello Sonata'?).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 17, 2013, 09:26:00 AM
Clearly, I need to bring in recordings of the Violin Sonata, and those middle quartets . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 17, 2013, 12:23:53 PM
The second movement of FIVE has a beat, you can dance to it.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 17, 2013, 08:38:56 PM
Clearly, I need to bring in recordings of the Violin Sonata, and those middle quartets . . . .

Oh? So now it comes out that you don't really have the cds handy? tap tap tap

Anyhow, listening the cello sonata Fast Fantasy (partner to VS & SQ 3), again, very late'80s, sounding like a friendlier Ralph Shapey. Wuorinen is certainly very very busy on this old NewWorld release of these three big Chamber Works. He's definitely a player in the sweepstakes, that's for sure. I'd say this disc is one of the meatier albums in general, very substantive in terms of... notes!, invention, slightly not accessible, enough to keep one chewing for a good while. Maybe not the place to start for the novice (I might recommend the Koch disc of 'Trios', 'Sextet', or 'Piano Quintet',... probably 'Trios').
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 03:17:32 AM
Oh? So now it comes out that you don't really have the cds handy?

Hm, I have been remiss, in part in getting stuff loaded onto the portable devices, and in part with fetching quartets in. I have nos. 1 & 4 readily accessible to-day; and I am somehow sure I have another quartet back at home . . . .

Well, I disclosed fairly that I wsa in possession of the First and Fourth. I am grateful to your present event, for bringing to my attention that I was missing those in the middle . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 03:20:05 AM
Anyhow, listening the cello sonata Fast Fantasy (partner to VS & SQ 3), again, very late'80s, sounding like a friendlier Ralph Shapey. Wuorinen is certainly very very busy on this old NewWorld release of these three big Chamber Works. He's definitely a player in the sweepstakes, that's for sure. I'd say this disc is one of the meatier albums in general, very substantive in terms of... notes!, invention, slightly not accessible, enough to keep one chewing for a good while. Maybe not the place to start for the novice (I might recommend the Koch disc of 'Trios', 'Sextet', or 'Piano Quintet',... probably 'Trios').

Excellent. I must say that my own musical temperament seems disinclined to, shall we say, others of Wuorinen's musical generation; but that I am both impressed by, and attracted to, his own work.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 07:46:11 AM
Word comes that the Second Quartet has shipped. I want it, now!

Ah, well, patience . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on January 18, 2013, 08:02:24 AM
Word comes that the Second Quartet has shipped. I want it, now!

Ah, well, patience . . . .


At least you have these until the disc arrives

http://www.youtube.com/v/BhxvS62r37A

http://www.youtube.com/v/_cK5oZXCQ6g

http://www.youtube.com/v/GSbtDMVwEuI
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 08:09:38 AM
Thank you kindly, neighbor!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 18, 2013, 08:30:27 AM
Well, I disclosed fairly that I wsa in possession of the First and Fourth. I am grateful to your present event, for bringing to my attention that I was missing those in the middle . . . .

As I look over your papers, it seems that everything is in order. Move along...


For No.2 I'm assuming Naxos? Or, IS that the same recording from Koch?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 18, 2013, 09:06:12 AM
For No.2 I'm assuming Naxos?

Dadfrazzanabit, it is on that Naxos disc! I do have it already.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: TheGSMoeller on January 25, 2013, 02:31:07 PM
First listen Fridays...


Wuorinen: Time's Encomium - for synthesized and processed synthesized sounds
                   Lepton - for piano, harp and celesta

Lepton is fascinating, I love the general flow of the work, and the combination of piano, harp and celesta creates an engaging participation.
I can't really begin to describe Time's Encomium, this is not a negative, so I found this from Wikipedia...

Time's Encomium (Jan. 1968-Jan. 1969, 31'43") is an electronic, four channel, musical composition by Charles Wuorinen for synthesized and processed synthesized sound. Commissioned by Teresa Sterne for Nonesuch Records, it was awarded the 1970 Pulitzer Prize for Music, and was realized on the RCA Mark II Synthesizer at the Columbia-Princeton Electronic Music Center, NYC. At the time Wuorinen was the youngest composer ever to win the Pulitzer. The piece is also the first electronic piece to win the prize.[1]
According to the composer, the primary concern of the piece appears to be rhythmic, since only the, "absolute, [and] not the seeming, length of events," (pure quantitative duration as opposed to qualitative performance variable inflection) are available to one in the electronic medium, though, "the basic materials are the twelve tempered pitch classes, and pitch-derived time relations," (due to the constraints of the synthesizer).[2] As such, he composed, "with a view to the proportions among absolute lengths of events -- be they small (note-to-note distances) or large (overall form) -- rather than to their relative 'weights,'....conform[ing] to the basic nature of a medium in which sound is always reproduced, never performed."[2] "Because I need time, I praise it; hence the title. Because it doesn't need me, I approach it respectively; hence the word 'encomium'."[2] Wuorinen also rescored the piece for standard orchestra, titled Contrafactum published by C.F. Peters


(http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51%2B8U3leyxL._SL500_AA300_.jpg)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 25, 2013, 08:49:11 PM
Dadfrazzanabit, it is on that Naxos disc! I do have it already.

I was having the same problem. Wuorinen's discography is naturally confusing. I literally threw out the Koch disc when I was like, What's this here?, as I pulled out the same thing I had in my hand to put away. Arrrggh. And I almost bought a second of another Koch disc. (Koch discs have two covers, then a third with the Naxos re-issue,... three different versions of the same discs)

What of the 3rd Piano Sonata (Feinberg)?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2013, 05:14:24 AM
Program notes to the BSO première of the Eighth Symphony.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2013, 05:22:15 AM
Ah-ha! It was from these notes that I picked up that the first two symphonies are juvenilia and unavailable for performance.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 29, 2013, 11:29:47 AM
Ah-ha! It was from these notes that I picked up that the first two symphonies are juvenilia and unavailable for performance.

What are these... Symphonies? Huh? Show me. Show me Wuorinen's Symphony No.5, or 6. ??? ??? ???
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2013, 11:33:56 AM
Dude, did you read the program notes (http://www.good-music-guide.com/community/index.php/topic,3260.msg692371.html#msg692371)? Or are you gonna make me copy-&-paste? ; )
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2013, 03:57:11 AM
Revisiting the Fourth Pf Cto this morning. Will hazard some more intelligent comment soon (I hope).  Fellow composer Carson Cooman interviewed Charles (http://www.mvdaily.com/articles/2005/03/wuorinen.htm) ahead of the première.
 
And Brokeback is on for Jan 2014 (http://www.charleswuorinen.com/brokeback.php).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: TheGSMoeller on June 12, 2013, 04:06:41 AM
Revisiting the Fourth Pf Cto this morning. Will hazard some more intelligent comment soon (I hope).  Fellow composer Carson Cooman interviewed Charles (http://www.mvdaily.com/articles/2005/03/wuorinen.htm) ahead of the première.
 
And Brokeback is on for Jan 2014 (http://www.charleswuorinen.com/brokeback.php).

Which album is the 4th PC on? I have two discs of Wuorinen's music but haven't heard this PC.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2013, 04:17:42 AM
As yet unreleased.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2013, 05:38:00 AM
A review of that concert, printed in The New York Times

Quote from: Anthony Tommasini
Beyond Polemical Battles in Music
 
In his first season as music director of the Boston Symphony Orchestra James Levine has been offering audiences a hefty dose of complex contemporary works. He realizes that some of his choices are putting off segments of the orchestra's subscribers. But his programming of tough-guy modernists like Milton Babbitt and Charles Wuorinen is not some intellectual pose. He is genuinely excited by these challenging works and is counting on his ability to entice listeners to open their ears to music he believes in.

Mr. Levine certainly had a responsive audience for the challenging program he presented with the orchestra at Carnegie Hall on Monday night. The mix of new and old works was emblematic of the programming Mr. Levine plans to continue. In the first half he conducted the New York premieres of John Harbison's "Darkbloom: Overture for an Imagined Opera," and Mr. Wuorinen's Fourth Piano Concerto. He led the world premieres of these commissioned works last week in Boston. Stravinsky's "Movements" for piano and orchestra served as a bridge between the new scores. After a rigorously contemporary first half, the program concluded with Brahms's Symphony No. 2 in D.

Though both were born in 1938, Mr. Harbison and Mr. Wuorinen represent bastions of contemporary music that were at war during the bad old days of the 1970's. With this program, Mr. Levine was signaling that those polemical battles are dated and pointless. To consider Mr. Wuorinen a doctrinaire serialist and Mr. Harbison a Neo-Romantic holdout for tonality is to oversimplify hugely their styles and stands.

"Darkbloom" was fashioned from preliminary fragments of an opera based on Nabokov's "Lolita" that Mr. Harbison decided to abandon. Though strands in the score are taken from music associated with characters and events in the story, this overture can be heard as an organic, harmonically tart and restlessly ambiguous 10-minute orchestral essay, which is how it came across in this engrossing performance.

With each work Stravinsky wrote during the 1950's, he inched closer to adopting the 12-tone technique pioneered by Schoenberg, a process that culminated in 1959 with "Movements," which employs Stravinsky's idiomatic brand of full-scaled serialism. But the radicalism of "Movements" comes less from its language than it extreme compression, inspired by Webern. Five eventful and restless movements are compressed into ten minutes of music. The pianist Peter Serkin, the soloist here, has long loved this remarkable work. Abetted by Mr. Levine and the orchestra, he found playful, intricate, tender and punchy qualities of this deceptively severe score. The rhythmically incisive performance made clear why Balanchine embraced this music as ideal for dance.

Mr. Serkin was the prime mover behind Mr. Levine's decision to commission Mr. Wuorinen's concerto. While it's true that in the last ten years Mr. Wuorinen had been exploring a less confrontational brand of modernism, this 25-minute concerto, structured in three sections, is still music of uncompromising complexity and intellectual rigor. Yet it was hard not to respond to the sheer intensity and brilliance of the score.

In the opening moments, atmospheric colorings and sustained orchestra harmonies with tremulous pedal tones give the music a sense of grounding, almost as in tonal music. The piano is introduced with alluring, lacy piano arpeggios. Whole stretches of the music are scored with the intimacy and specificity of chamber music. There are thick orchestral sonorities, sounding like 12-tone Brahms, and a passage of Ivesian atmospherics, complete with distant chimes and quivering strings. Each section builds inexorably to outbursts of aggressive intensity. Yet no matter how thick the music, almost every detail is audible.

Still, for all its unabashed modernism, there is something retro in Mr. Wuorinen's style. Viewed one way, the music is as dated as the tonal contemporary music that Mr. Wuorinen used to mock in his polemical writings of a generation ago. Yet, the concerto kept me hooked right through. And who could resist Mr. Serkin's stunning, bracing, subtle and exciting account of the monstrously difficult piano part? Any music that inspires Peter Serkin to this kind of performance must be taken seriously. Under Mr. Levine, the Boston musicians played this score as if they were a crack contemporary music orchestra.

After intermission, having heard all that new music, the Brahms Second sounded like the cutting-edge score it was when new, which surely was Mr. Levine's hope. The performance was vibrant, unsentimental and lucid. The chemistry between the Boston Symphony and its new conductor could not be better.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2013, 05:39:40 AM
Viz. structured in three sections, is still music of uncompromising complexity and intellectual rigor. Yet it was hard not to respond to the sheer intensity and brilliance of the score . . . why not simply in three sections?  And the sheer intensuity and brillance of the score are not to be denied; that prefatory it was hard not to respond to [it] is pure wishy-wash, isn't it?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2013, 05:42:34 AM
John Harbison had to have been pleased with the description this overture can be heard as an organic, harmonically tart and restlessly ambiguous 10-minute orchestral essay, which is how it came across in this engrossing performance.  But again, Tommasini pads the article and waters down his praise with the added verbal lard.  Better would have been this overture is an organic, harmonically tart and restlessly ambiguous 10-minute orchestral essay.  The only thing lost is a throwaway reference to the performance, which deserved better comment, anyway.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on June 12, 2013, 05:51:01 AM
John Harbison had to have been pleased with the description this overture can be heard as an organic, harmonically tart and restlessly ambiguous 10-minute orchestral essay, which is how it came across in this engrossing performance.  But again, Tommasini pads the article and waters down his praise with the added verbal lard.  Better would have been this overture is an organic, harmonically tart and restlessly ambiguous 10-minute orchestral essay.  The only thing lost is a throwaway reference to the performance, which deserved better comment, anyway.

Here is the line which fried my potatoes:

Quote
"... Under Mr. Levine, the Boston musicians played this score as if they were a crack contemporary music orchestra."

You mean...they aren't?  ??? :o :(

A little New York snobbery there, I would say!

For those unacquainted with Wuorinen, at least try the Grand Bamboula!  A fun work!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on June 12, 2013, 05:51:40 AM
Viz. structured in three sections, is still music of uncompromising complexity and intellectual rigor. Yet it was hard not to respond to the sheer intensity and brilliance of the score . . . why not simply in three sections?  And the sheer intensuity and brillance of the score are not to be denied; that prefatory it was hard not to respond to [it] is pure wishy-wash, isn't it?
As someone who hasn't heard the work in question, 90% of this review could have been written without hearing it. It hardly stretches anyone's predictive power to guess that a new Wuorinen work would be post-serial but lean towards specific tonal centers.

I'm not sure what "uncompromising complexity and intellectual rigor" is meant to signify beyond "hey guys, this music isn't tonal." As if tonal music isn't allowed to be complex or intellectually rigorous.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2013, 05:55:20 AM
Cheers, Cato & Edward! Yes, Tommasini was quite a piece of work (or maybe is yet, I just haven't been aware of anything he may have written recently . . . .)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2013, 06:05:09 AM
I am late finding this, but Matthew Guerrieri mentioned the opera on his blog, Soho the Dog (http://sohothedog.blogspot.com/2007/10/remakes.html).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2013, 06:11:15 AM
And here's (http://www.google.com/url?sa=t&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&frm=1&source=web&cd=3&cad=rja&ved=0CD4QFjAC&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.charleswuorinen.com%2FWritings%2Fkarchin%2FIntro.pdf&ei=dk-0Uo_sCeyuyAH21IHgDw&usg=AFQjCNEjTGY3HTvj_RcqIryrta0fNnNMmw&sig2=aC-ICNjAgm3gt_M_8aHS_Q) a general article.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2013, 06:14:39 AM
Review (http://www.ft.com/cms/s/2/610034fc-d1a8-11e2-9336-00144feab7de.html#axzz2X3cyUO00) of his "birthday event" in June.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on December 20, 2013, 06:15:05 AM
I am late finding this, but Matthew Guerrieri mentioned the opera on his blog, Soho the Dog (http://sohothedog.blogspot.com/2007/10/remakes.html).

I've known about this opera, I guess since around the time of that blog article (~ 2007) but have not heard anything recently.  I think there was some news a couple of years ago about the premier being pushed off indefinitely.  But I could be wrong. 
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2013, 06:16:29 AM
Hm, on his site at least, the première is still listed for next month. (Perhaps the site is not recently updated.)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on December 20, 2013, 06:22:43 AM
Hm, on his site at least, the première is still listed for next month. (Perhaps the site is not recently updated.)

I hope that is accurate, and as I said, I have not heard anything for a while.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 20, 2013, 06:35:24 AM
Hm, looks like the Eighth Symphony had a night out in Finland . . . . (http://www.musicanova.fi/en/program/event/16---neither)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on December 20, 2013, 07:15:28 PM
Brokeback Mountain is very definitely going ahead, as tickets are on sale for performances starting January:

http://www.generaltickets.com/teatro-real/

Madrid's a bit far to go to see it, at least for me. :-)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: lescamil on December 20, 2013, 11:02:15 PM
The score for Brokeback Mountain is online now, so get to studying it!

http://issuu.com/editionpeters/docs/p68365_act_i_contemporary

http://issuu.com/editionpeters/docs/p68365_act_ii_contemporary
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on December 21, 2013, 08:17:38 AM
Nice catch, thanks!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 21, 2013, 08:19:08 AM
Sweet!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on December 21, 2013, 08:38:28 AM
Charles's agent, Howard Stokar, confirms that the opera is on for 28 January - 11 February.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 22, 2014, 09:21:52 AM
Well, the world première of Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain here in Madrid's Teatro Real is just around the corner now (next Tuesday)...

The Guardian in London has published an article on this:

Brokeback Mountain: the opera to open in Madrid
Premiere of tragic story of two cowboys who become doomed lovers adapted by composer Charles Wuorinen
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/brokeback-mountain-the-opera-opens-madrid

Loooking foward to attend one of the performances... :) I don't know much of Wuorinen (only A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky--on a superb serial-Stravinsky CD by Oliver Knussen on DG / Arkivmusic-- and Alan Feinberg's CD of piano pieces--including the mighty 3rd Sonata--on Bridge). But do I notice a lyrical streak to Wuorinen's music that could lead us to expect a very interesting opera?  :-\

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 22, 2014, 09:36:08 AM
Well, the world première of Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain here in Madrid's Teatro Real is just around the corner now (next Tuesday)...

The Guardian in London has published an article on this:

Brokeback Mountain: the opera to open in Madrid
Premiere of tragic story of two cowboys who become doomed lovers adapted by composer Charles Wuorinen
http://www.theguardian.com/world/2014/jan/20/brokeback-mountain-the-opera-opens-madrid

Loooking foward to attend one of the performances... :) I don't know much of Wuorinen (only A Reliquary for Igor Stravinsky--on a superb serial-Stravinsky CD by Oliver Knussen on DG / Arkivmusic-- and Alan Feinberg's CD of piano pieces--including the mighty 3rd Sonata--on Bridge). But do I notice a lyrical streak to Wuorinen's music that could lead us to expect a very interesting opera?  :-\

Very cool!  (Disclosure:  I studied with Charles.)  Will be most interested in your review!

Three pieces which I commend to your attention, to expand your knowledge of his work:

The Third Piano Concerto (I also particularly like the Fourth String Quartet on this disc):



The String Sextet (though, again, I like this entire disc):



The Trio for Bass Instruments:

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 22, 2014, 09:50:17 AM
Very cool!  (Disclosure:  I studied with Charles.)  Will be most interested in your review!

Three pieces which I commend to your attention, to expand your knowledge of his work...

Thanks for the recommendations, karlhenning!...I'll certainly explore them.

I'll be delighted to share my views on the opera after having heard it, but my opinions will merely be those of an amateur, as I am by no means a professional musician... :-[
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 23, 2014, 12:52:08 AM
Here's a short introductory video (from the Teatro Real's web page) on the upcoming Brokeback Mountain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1rz1z0i4jrI

And some puctures of rehearsals:

(http://estaticos01.elmundo.es/assets/multimedia/imagenes/2014/01/21/13903448066548.jpg)

http://www.elmundo.es/album/cultura/2014/01/22/52df056cca4741a87a8b4591.html
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 24, 2014, 01:29:05 PM
Here's a short introductory video (from the Teatro Real's web page) on the upcoming Brokeback Mountain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1rz1z0i4jrI

And some puctures of rehearsals:

(http://estaticos01.elmundo.es/assets/multimedia/imagenes/2014/01/21/13903448066548.jpg)

http://www.elmundo.es/album/cultura/2014/01/22/52df056cca4741a87a8b4591.html

Oh how I have dreaded this moment, and there's the pics to drive it... all... the... way... home... uhhhh.... (cigarette anyone?) (oww) siiiing (oww) siiing (oww) siiing (oww)

How bout an opera based on Pacino's film 'Crusin'?

sorry,mm mm mm...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 24, 2014, 01:30:58 PM
Here's a short introductory video (from the Teatro Real's web page) on the upcoming Brokeback Mountain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1rz1z0i4jrI

And some puctures of rehearsals:

(http://estaticos01.elmundo.es/assets/multimedia/imagenes/2014/01/21/13903448066548.jpg)

http://www.elmundo.es/album/cultura/2014/01/22/52df056cca4741a87a8b4591.html

Eric Stoltz doesn't really fit the Heath Ledger part, butt, ooo-kaaay
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 24, 2014, 01:33:24 PM
Here's a short introductory video (from the Teatro Real's web page) on the upcoming Brokeback Mountain:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=1rz1z0i4jrI

And some puctures of rehearsals:

(http://estaticos01.elmundo.es/assets/multimedia/imagenes/2014/01/21/13903448066548.jpg)

http://www.elmundo.es/album/cultura/2014/01/22/52df056cca4741a87a8b4591.html

Yes, it's like a car wreck... I had to come around again. "Look pa, them's two boys pa" ??? ??? ???

I would practically just settle for 1979 at this point, but, I'm sure it wasn't as pleasant as I'd like to remember.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: TheGSMoeller on January 24, 2014, 02:02:05 PM
Had no clue Wuorinen was composing an opera on Brokeback Mountain. Please keep posting info on it, very interested to hear how the premiere goes.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: lescamil on January 24, 2014, 02:06:50 PM
I posted the score above if any of you would like to take a look. I will also be browsing my usual sources for a possible broadcast recording of the premiere. If I can get a hold of a recording, I will make it available to anyone that wants it.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: NorthNYMark on January 24, 2014, 02:12:16 PM
Yes, it's like a car wreck... I had to come around again. "Look pa, them's two boys pa" ??? ??? ???

I would practically just settle for 1979 at this point, but, I'm sure it wasn't as pleasant as I'd like to remember.

It sounds as if this may be your first exposure to a picture of two men in an intimate relationship...is this the case?  I sort of thought that this would be reasonably familiar to most folks by now.  8)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: TheGSMoeller on January 24, 2014, 02:34:23 PM
I posted the score above if any of you would like to take a look. I will also be browsing my usual sources for a possible broadcast recording of the premiere. If I can get a hold of a recording, I will make it available to anyone that wants it.

I was going backwards up the posts and didn't make it to the one with the score.  ???

Thanks for posting, lescamil.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 25, 2014, 04:07:02 AM
More on Brokeback Mountain:

http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/26/arts/music/charles-wuorinen-adapts-brokeback-mountain-as-opera.html

http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/arts/culture/la-et-cm-brokeback-mountain-opera-20140126,0,1223106.story

Finally got tickets for the first performance next Tuesday. Quite excited!  :)

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 25, 2014, 05:20:13 AM
Fabulous!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 25, 2014, 06:43:31 AM
Fabulous!

Yer killin me :laugh:
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 25, 2014, 08:49:02 PM
They thought Tristan was too shocking . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 26, 2014, 07:08:56 PM
They thought Tristan was too shocking . . . .

But this IS! >:D
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 27, 2014, 02:34:38 AM
In olden days, a glimpse of stockin' . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 28, 2014, 09:08:49 AM
In olden days, a glimpse of stockin' . . . .

Karl, I just deleted my 3 Page Rant. You can thank me later. Still, an opera about anal just seems crass and opportunistic, not groundbreaking

Are they 'action figures' or are they dolls?

Did i tell you about when i lived with a real live pedophile, the son of a famous nudie mag publisher?



either way, I hope this opera is everything everyone wants it to be ::)





(why do i even post this stuff?????) i mean, reeeally



i'm touching my nipples Karl




Karl?






hello?
Title: Brokeback Mountain - world premiere - Madrid Jan. 28, 2014
Post by: ritter on January 28, 2014, 03:18:09 PM
I have just returned home from the successful first performance of Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain (libretto by Annie Proulx) at Madrid's Teatro Real.

It's a very well paced opera, and Wuorinen's orchestral writing is superb. I don't know enough of the composer's oeuvre to compare with other opuses, but the musicologist who gives introductory speeches in our theatre (José Luis Téllez) mentioned that Wuorinen had expressly "toned down" the contrapunctual complexity of his writing on this occasion.

The opera is structured in two acts of eleven scenes each (no intermission), and lasts slightly longer tan two hours. Scenes are linked by very impressive interludes. As far as the piece's architecture is concerned, think of Wozzeck or Ginastera`s Bomarzo.

It's written in an accessible 12-tone idiom, very lyrical at times (think Wozzeck again). The large orchestra (with a generous percussion section) is used quite economically (almost chamber-like in many passages), and the textures are very, very seductive. It's by no means a radically 21st-century avantgarde style, and may sound even a bit old-fashioned, but it is masterfully written (in my opinion). Particularly impressive is the leitmotiv associated to the mountain, based on the note "C" in the deepest registers of the orchestra (double basses, tubas, trombones).

You could ask for some more contrast between scenes, but this is but a minor complaint, as there were no tedious moments in the evening.

The vocal writing is very clean, syllabic. At the start, the contrast between Ennis' Sprechgesang and Jack's more "musical" singing is quite striking (think Moses und Aron). As the piece advances, Ennis ""sings more and more, and the opera ends with a very touching and rather beautiful monologue (a Liebestod, as Téllez described it).

The plot is almost universally known thanks to the film, but here it reaches a truly tragic dimension (with no sentimentalism).

It's not really a vocal showcase, but I think all singers did an excellent job. The staging was rather spartan, but quite effective.

Warm applause (particularly for the rather cold standards of the Teatro Real's audience, more so on opening nights) for the composer, librettist, conductor Titus Engel, singers and the stage team led by dutchman Ivo van Hove. Didn't hear any signs of dissent (despite a bit of a controversy in some Spanish papers and local forums on the subject matter, the musical language, Gérard Mortier's helmsanship of the house--you know, the usual ::) ).

At the end, I managed to sneak backstage and shake Wuorinen's and Proulx hands, and thank them, as a mre aficionado,  for their work. They seemed quite happy with the evening's outcome (each of them holding a bottle of champagne). ;)

I wish this work has a successful career on other stages, because it is a fine opera. :) . I for one enjoyed it very much, and I think that was the general feeling in the house tonight...

Regards,

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 28, 2014, 04:22:32 PM
Thank you, it was a great pleasure to read your report of the evening.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on January 28, 2014, 04:49:47 PM
From today's Wall Street Journal:

Quote
"I grew up in a very radical musical tradition," (Wuorinen) explains. "Everybody, from Milton Babbitt to John Cage, wanted to redefine music every minute. I thought, this really can't be. For my entire career I have not so much looked back as wanted to embrace some of the characteristics of older music. That gives my work the kind of rhetoric you've noted."

And it speaks to his interest in depicting the human condition, notably the inner lives of Ennis, who can't face who he is, and of Jack, who can't convince Ennis to change. "I was especially interested in embedding these hapless characters in the music," says Mr. Wuorinen. "I haven't written program music, the way a composer like Richard Strauss might." But there are specific places in the score that represent the elements of the drama. "The opening note C is emblematic of the mountain, but also of the fate of the characters—the death in life that Ennis ends up with," he reveals.

"The two notes that surround C and converge on it—C-sharp and B-natural—represent Ennis and Jack. I imagine Ennis, although he cannot accept himself, as being the more dominant of the two. There is a kind of irony in that as Jack ages, he doesn't really develop. He always wants the same thing and never gets it. Ennis, on the other hand, starts out barely able to speak—for a large part of the first act he uses Sprechstimme, half-singing and half-speaking. As the work progresses he sings more and more until that's all he does. So there is a reflection in the surface texture of the music of his growing capacity to express himself, and finally to accept himself. At which point Jack is already dead and it's too late. That's the tragedy."

See:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336592986342158?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6 (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336592986342158?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 29, 2014, 01:46:21 AM
Thank you, it was a great pleasure to read your report of the evening.
You're welcome...glad you enjoyed it. I hope you hace the chance to see the work ypourself some time son, as it deserves a wide circulation.

The managers of several major international opera houes (including, that I recall, Munich and San Francisco) were in the audience last night. Let's hope they program the work...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 03:09:53 AM
Very good! The SFSO has recorded some of Charles's music . . . I have high hopes.  (Don't worry, snypsss, I can always shut my eyes and just listen ;)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 03:10:21 AM
From today's Wall Street Journal:

See:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336592986342158?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6 (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336592986342158?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6)

Thanks, I must check out that entire article.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on January 29, 2014, 04:52:41 AM
Very good! The SFSO has recorded some of Charles's music . . . I have high hopes. (Don't worry, snypsss, I can always shut my eyes and just listen ;)

You would be following a tradition of sorts!  ;)

There is the following story about Bruckner in the biography by Hans-Hubert Schönzeler.  Bruckner had never seen a Wagner opera until he was past 40. After watching  Die Walküre, he wanted to know: "Why did they burn the woman in the fire at the end?"  ??? ??? ???

The purely musical experience without the story is what he concentrated upon.

(The biographer uses this as proof that Bruckner was not a Gesamtkunstwerk Wagnerian.)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 05:05:20 AM
The Wicker Woman!  ;D    8)    0:)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on January 29, 2014, 05:41:13 AM
The Wicker Woman!  ;D    8)    0:)

Heh-heh!  Sounds like a logical sequel!

Sometimes women don't do too well in the finales of Wagner's operas!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 05:58:48 AM
When Wagner writes for a soprano . . . it cannot end well . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 06:02:46 AM
From today's Wall Street Journal:

See:

http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336592986342158?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6 (http://online.wsj.com/news/articles/SB10001424052702304632204579336592986342158?mod=WSJ_LifeStyle_Lifestyle_6)

Still reading it . . . but I wanted to say, first, that I get uncomfortable when a journo writes of the bowels of the orchestra.

Quote
"I knew Charles's music could be stringent and fierce, sharp-edged and heartless and very often beautiful," Ms. Proulx related.

I don't think I am at all happy about the adjective heartless there.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 06:04:21 AM
We could also make a drinking game of reading the word thorny when someone writes about Charles's work . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 06:10:57 AM
Did I call Isacoff a journo?  I've browsed through his A Natural History of the Piano, and couldn't understand why he used natural when social would have made for a title both accurate and coherent.
Title: Re: Brokeback Mountain - world premiere - Madrid Jan. 28, 2014
Post by: pjme on January 29, 2014, 06:11:34 AM
Warm applause (particularly for the rather cold standards of the Teatro Real's audience, more so on opening nights) for the composer, librettist, conductor Titus Engel, singers and the stage team led by dutchman Ivo van Hove. Didn't hear any signs of dissent (despite a bit of a controversy in some Spanish papers and local forums on the subject matter, the musical language, Gérard Mortier's helmsanship of the house--you know, the usual ::) ).,

Belgian musiclovers were enthusiastic aswell, of course. Not only Gerard Mortier is a Belgian, but so are both Ivo Van Hove ( although he works often in the Netherlands) and Jan Versweyfeld (stagedesign / lights).
I sincerely hope we can see Brokeback mountain soon in Brussels or Antwerp /Ghent.

Peter
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 29, 2014, 06:32:25 AM
There is the following story about Bruckner in the biography by Hans-Hubert Schönzeler.  Bruckner had never seen a Wagner opera until he was past 40. After watching  Die Walküre, he wanted to know: "Why did they burn the woman in the fire at the end?"  ??? ??? ???
Had never read this...Brillant! Can't stop laughing!  :laugh: :laugh: :laugh:

Belgian musiclovers were enthusiastic aswell, of course. Not only Gerard Mortier is a Belgian, but so are both Ivo Van Hove ( although he works often in the Netherlands) and Jan Versweyfeld (stagedesign / lights).
I sincerely hope we can see Brokeback mountain soon in Brussels or Antwerp /Ghent.
I apologize for having abducted Mr. Van Hove form his homeland to the neighbouring Netherlands, pjme!  :-[

I mentioned Mr. Mortier only in passing in my message. His tenure here in Madrid has been controversial, to put it mildly, but he has clearly raised the standards of the house (the chorus and orchestra have changed--to the better--beyond recognition), and several of the productions he has programmed have been very successful.

He's been ignominiously treated by the board of the Teatro Real, particularly now that he is gravely ill. This treatment  is an embarrassment for my city  :-[. I hope he fully recovers soon...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: pjme on January 29, 2014, 11:16:03 AM
Check out Teatro Real's website http://www.teatro-real.com/es/espectaculos/1774

 and this

http://www.youtube.com/v/nOz-F5aorpM


http://www.youtube.com/v/zoZekAKhF84


Peter


Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 11:31:22 AM
Many thanks, Peter!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on January 29, 2014, 11:46:33 AM
We could also make a drinking game of reading the word thorny when someone writes about Charles's work . . . .

I am positive that I have noticed that specific adjective about his music elsewhere, but cannot be precise.

Still reading it . . . but I wanted to say, first, that I get uncomfortable when a journo writes of the bowels of the orchestra.

(Concerning Anne Proulx's description of Wuorinen's music):

I don't think I am at all happy about the adjective heartless there.

An unpleasant attempt to describe the lowest of the low notes!

The whole sentence by Proulx smacked of a de rigueur statement.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 11:48:08 AM
Very good that the author herself did the libretto; that's one middle-man eliminated!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: pjme on January 29, 2014, 11:53:26 AM
Many thanks, Peter!

You're welcome, Karl.

I was able, this afternoon, to listen to Wuorinen's : third pianoconcerto ( which left me ,again, in a state of blissful choc), the first movement of the Percussion symphony and the very mysterious (1992) Micro symphony.
(You Tube).

Peter
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 29, 2014, 12:07:16 PM
Yes! The Third Concerto fixed me with its glittering eye straight off!

And now: Trombone Trio

http://www.youtube.com/v/ZXIlvGbq9sA
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on January 29, 2014, 12:13:28 PM
It does my heart good to see such a thorny composer receiving all this happy listening!

 ;)
Title: Re: Brokeback Mountain - world premiere - Madrid Jan. 28, 2014
Post by: Brewski on January 29, 2014, 12:30:40 PM
I have just returned home from the successful first performance of Wuorinen's Brokeback Mountain (libretto by Annie Proulx) at Madrid's Teatro Real.

It's a very well paced opera, and Wuorinen's orchestral writing is superb. I don't know enough of the composer's oeuvre to compare with other opuses, but the musicologist who gives introductory speeches in our theatre (José Luis Téllez) mentioned that Wuorinen had expressly "toned down" the contrapunctual complexity of his writing on this occasion.

The opera is structured in two acts of eleven scenes each (no intermission), and lasts slightly longer tan two hours. Scenes are linked by very impressive interludes. As far as the piece's architecture is concerned, think of Wozzeck or Ginastera`s Bomarzo.

It's written in an accessible 12-tone idiom, very lyrical at times (think Wozzeck again). The large orchestra (with a generous percussion section) is used quite economically (almost chamber-like in many passages), and the textures are very, very seductive. It's by no means a radically 21st-century avantgarde style, and may sound even a bit old-fashioned, but it is masterfully written (in my opinion). Particularly impressive is the leitmotiv associated to the mountain, based on the note "C" in the deepest registers of the orchestra (double basses, tubas, trombones).

You could ask for some more contrast between scenes, but this is but a minor complaint, as there were no tedious moments in the evening.

The vocal writing is very clean, syllabic. At the start, the contrast between Ennis' Sprechgesang and Jack's more "musical" singing is quite striking (think Moses und Aron). As the piece advances, Ennis ""sings more and more, and the opera ends with a very touching and rather beautiful monologue (a Liebestod, as Téllez described it).

The plot is almost universally known thanks to the film, but here it reaches a truly tragic dimension (with no sentimentalism).

It's not really a vocal showcase, but I think all singers did an excellent job. The staging was rather spartan, but quite effective.

Warm applause (particularly for the rather cold standards of the Teatro Real's audience, more so on opening nights) for the composer, librettist, conductor Titus Engel, singers and the stage team led by dutchman Ivo van Hove. Didn't hear any signs of dissent (despite a bit of a controversy in some Spanish papers and local forums on the subject matter, the musical language, Gérard Mortier's helmsanship of the house--you know, the usual ::) ).

At the end, I managed to sneak backstage and shake Wuorinen's and Proulx hands, and thank them, as a mre aficionado,  for their work. They seemed quite happy with the evening's outcome (each of them holding a bottle of champagne). ;)

I wish this work has a successful career on other stages, because it is a fine opera. :) . I for one enjoyed it very much, and I think that was the general feeling in the house tonight...

Regards,

Thanks so much, ritter, for this great report (and very cool you got to go backstage!). The comments I've seen today have been mostly very positive, which doesn't surprise me given the composer and the source material. I do hope it comes to the U.S. sooner rather than later.

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Brewski on January 29, 2014, 12:30:57 PM
It does my heart good to see such a thorny composer receiving all this happy listening!

 ;)

 8)

--Bruce
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: lescamil on January 29, 2014, 09:48:35 PM
It does my heart good to see such a thorny composer receiving all this happy listening!

 ;)

Hear hear! Although I will say that I liked Wuorinen before he was cool!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: edward on February 03, 2014, 08:23:07 PM
Good news, everyone: Medici.tv will be streaming Friday's performance of Brokeback Mountain free of charge for a limited time.

http://www.medici.tv/#!/brokeback-mountain-wuorinen-teatro-real-madrid-titus-engel-ivo-van-hove
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 07, 2014, 06:36:14 AM
Fetched in the Joan Peyser book, To Boulez and Beyond.  Charles had written the Foreword . . . it's classic.  Will quote a bit of it later.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on November 07, 2014, 07:38:39 AM
Fetched in the Joan Peyser book, To Boulez and Beyond.  Charles had written the Foreword . . . it's classic.  Will quote a bit of it later.

That is a bizarre book. See my review (http://www.amazon.com/review/R10FAKUHGR3FGC/?_encoding=UTF8&ASIN=0823078752&camp=1789&creative=9325&linkCode=ur2&tag=3636363-20&linkId=NFNYSG2BTTQHVAPI) and some of the other negative reviews on that Amazon listing. If you have the revised edition that appeared after I reviewed it, is it a substantially different work?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 07, 2014, 07:44:13 AM
I've just started to read it.  Will report!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on November 07, 2014, 07:46:34 AM
Just read your review . . . and one of the things my eye did catch in a cursory leaf-through is that Peyser herself notes the misleading subtitle.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on February 21, 2015, 01:29:16 PM
Brought over from the "New Releases" thread:

.... just abuot a year after the world premiere here in Madrid (which I was lucky enough to attend):

(http://i.prs.to/t_200/belairclassiquesbac111.jpg)
Presto mentions a release on March 9...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 21, 2015, 04:29:33 PM
Cool!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on February 21, 2015, 04:54:51 PM
Fetched in the Joan Peyser book, To Boulez and Beyond.  Charles had written the Foreword . . . it's classic.  Will quote a bit of it later.

I was interested in this book but the negative reaction has dented my enthusiasm.  Have you an opinion yet?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 21, 2015, 05:38:53 PM
Hah, you know:  I set it down, and haven't thought about it almost since this post.  May take me some effort to find the book . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on February 21, 2015, 06:56:14 PM
I am listening to a newish recording (2014) of Wuorinen music, including premiers of two chamber works:



OOP on amazon but I am listening on Spotify.  The work Metagong is very fine.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 23, 2015, 04:27:22 AM
Thanks for the alert!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on February 23, 2015, 03:25:31 PM
I am listening to a newish recording (2014) of Wuorinen music, including premiers of two chamber works:



 The work Metagong is very fine.

I never met a gong I didn't like!  ???

In the old days, Wuorinen was one of the so-called "thorny" or "cerebral" composers (the terms often used against e.g. Roger Sessions ), terms implying such composers would fade away into academic journals, so it is gratifying to see that recordings of Wuorinen are still going strong!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on February 27, 2015, 11:44:39 AM
I am listening to a newish recording (2014) of Wuorinen music, including premiers of two chamber works:
 (http://images.amazon.com/images/P/B00K5PCBIY.01.L.jpg)

OOP on amazon but I am listening on Spotify.  The work Metagong is very fine.

Interested in your thoughts once you've had a chance to listen - I loved the new works.

Yes, Metagong and the Trio for flute, Bass Clarinet & Piano are Charles at the top of his very considerably sharp game!  The entire album is fine;  but the later pieces do show greater assurance of his mastery.  I am inclined to say additionally that the 2008 pieces are strikingly beautiful, in ways superior to the earlier pieces.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on February 27, 2015, 11:47:20 AM
Yes, Metagong and the Trio for flute, Bass Clarinet & Piano are Charles at the top of his very considerably sharp game!  The entire album is fine;  but the later pieces do show greater assurance of his mastery.  I am inclined to say additionally that the 2008 pieces are strikingly beautiful, in ways superior to the earlier pieces.

I agree on both counts.

 ;)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 29, 2015, 08:50:51 AM
Curious review (http://articles.latimes.com/1990-01-13/entertainment/ca-264_1_musical-avant-garde) (none too new).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 29, 2015, 09:29:00 AM
No, I didn't half fancy his opinion of the Stravinsky works  ;)

I don't think he had much wit to appreciate Charles's Machault mon chou, either.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 08, 2016, 04:21:45 AM
Once a fluent, erudite author of program notes, Wuorinen rarely provides them today. “I just don’t know what to write anymore,” he said. In olden times, when I had a specific compositional method to describe, program notes served a purpose. I had something definite to say, you know, even though it seemed pretty technical to some members of the audience. Now my methods are more general, my solutions more intuitive and local, my preliminary material sparser and sparser, so it is difficult for me to draw any communicable conclusion about what it is that I’ve done.

“Besides, program notes can do more harm than good” he continued. “I’ve heard it said that Milton Babbitt’s music would never have generated the kind of hostility that it did if he had explained it as the ‘yearnings of a passionate soul,’ or something like that. Moreover, to describe the methods that a composer used to create a piece may have absolutely nothing to do with the meaning of the piece as a musical experience. There is often a profound difference between what a composition really is and what we think it is when we are making it.”

Wuorinen allows that the
Fast Fantasy is “just what the title implies: a fantasy based on a big lump of notes, intuitively rhythmed, with some quali­ties of recitative.” Like most other celebrated musical fantasies, this one is essentially rhapsodic in form and abounds in pyrotechnical display. From the opening flourish (built around an insistently repeated F note passed, rapid-fire, from instrument to instrument) through the hushed, sus­tained song-like central section, this is a work of charm and unfettered imagination. Particularly effective are the last few bars, when cello and piano join forces to create rich, gonging, multi-textured chords that resound with the authority of conclusion. Yet there is one final surprise in store: As the chords are on the verge of dying out, the cello suddenly scampers off blithely, for an unexpectedly light­hearted ending. The Fast Fantasy is dedicated to Fred Sherry.

-From liner notes to New World CD 385, written by Tim Page ©1990
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 10, 2016, 10:31:45 AM
Once a fluent, erudite author of program notes, Wuorinen rarely provides them today. “I just don’t know what to write anymore,” he said. In olden times, when I had a specific compositional method to describe, program notes served a purpose. I had something definite to say, you know, even though it seemed pretty technical to some members of the audience. Now my methods are more general, my solutions more intuitive and local, my preliminary material sparser and sparser, so it is difficult for me to draw any communicable conclusion about what it is that I’ve done.

“Besides, program notes can do more harm than good” he continued. “I’ve heard it said that Milton Babbitt’s music would never have generated the kind of hostility that it did if he had explained it as the ‘yearnings of a passionate soul,’ or something like that. Moreover, to describe the methods that a composer used to create a piece may have absolutely nothing to do with the meaning of the piece as a musical experience. There is often a profound difference between what a composition really is and what we think it is when we are making it.”

Wuorinen allows that the
Fast Fantasy is “just what the title implies: a fantasy based on a big lump of notes, intuitively rhythmed, with some quali­ties of recitative.” Like most other celebrated musical fantasies, this one is essentially rhapsodic in form and abounds in pyrotechnical display. From the opening flourish (built around an insistently repeated F note passed, rapid-fire, from instrument to instrument) through the hushed, sus­tained song-like central section, this is a work of charm and unfettered imagination. Particularly effective are the last few bars, when cello and piano join forces to create rich, gonging, multi-textured chords that resound with the authority of conclusion. Yet there is one final surprise in store: As the chords are on the verge of dying out, the cello suddenly scampers off blithely, for an unexpectedly light­hearted ending. The Fast Fantasy is dedicated to Fred Sherry.

-From liner notes to New World CD 385, written by Tim Page ©1990

ah, that seems to be the only Koch disc I don't have  (w/ 'Fast Fantasy')... Karl, you'd really like the Donald Martino 'Later Works' (Albany) disc by the same general  bunch that does all the Koch discs... DM's last SQ makes one wish they wrote it...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 10, 2016, 10:38:16 AM
nevermind.... listrening to NewWorld now.... 'Fast Fantasy'.... BABBITTminusSESSIONS...this is what's left over? (the wholes produced)

For me, the best thing about TOTAL Serialism (Sessions, Babbitt, Wuorinen) is that we don't usually get sustained high volume assualt, as the procedure sprinkles so many pianissimos in as to negate the bombast possible... at least I hear that with CW,... "mercurial" would be the word... also, Babbitt's Chamber Music, very mercurial... yes, that's the word (OWP)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: lescamil on January 10, 2016, 10:40:57 AM
For me, the best thing about TOTAL Serialism (Sessions, Babbitt, Wuorinen) is that we don't usually get sustained high volume assualt, as the procedure sprinkles so many pianissimos in as to negate the bombast possible... at least I hear that with CW,... "mercurial" would be the word... also, Babbitt's Chamber Music, very mercurial... yes, that's the word (OWP)

I hardly think that Wuorinen (and maybe Sessions) can be called "total serialists" just based on what I have heard. I could be wrong, though.
Title: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 10, 2016, 10:47:48 AM
Correct: "total serialism" does NOT apply to Wuorinen.

"Mercurial" DOES :)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on January 22, 2016, 05:50:44 AM
I think this imminent release has not been mentioned here:

(https://neos-music.com/images/covers-240/NEOS_11123_Wuorinen.jpg)

Contents: Heart Shadow for piano (2005), The Long and The Short for violin solo (1969), Harpsichord Divisions (1966), Violin Variations (1972), Six Pieces  for violin and piano(1977).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 22, 2016, 09:48:44 AM
I'm interested unreservedly in the latest piece. Curious-but-cautious about the pieces from the '60s.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on January 24, 2016, 03:41:55 PM
nothing much too exciting there, mm
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on January 25, 2016, 08:00:29 AM
nothing much too exciting there, mm

Where do you mean?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 16, 2017, 01:28:50 AM
Third & Fourth Piano Concerti
Genesis
Mass for the Restoration of St Luke's
Archæopteryx
Five
Eighth Symphony
Trio for Bass Instruments
Any of the string quartets, truly

I really could go on . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on April 16, 2017, 02:44:45 AM
Curious review (http://articles.latimes.com/1990-01-13/entertainment/ca-264_1_musical-avant-garde) (none too new).

The writer thought that Dumbarton Oaks was a throwaway work?  Bizarre.  It's such a lively score.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Cato on April 16, 2017, 04:43:44 AM

Archæopteryx


Archaeopteryx RAWKS...in that prehistoric birdlike way!

Not to be forgotten: Grand Bamboula for String Orchestra!!!

https://www.youtube.com/v/zuIRYPwEqu0

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: kishnevi on November 03, 2017, 06:20:05 PM
New release
(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/2258906.jpg)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on November 04, 2017, 02:27:54 AM
New release
(http://www.arkivmusic.com/graphics/covers/non-muze2/large/2258906.jpg)
Most interesting...I was listening recently to Ashberyana (on Naxos, with Da Camara Houston) and really enjoyed it.

But hard as it is to believe, Bridge have outdone themselves with this cover. They go from low to low in this respect... ???
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on November 04, 2017, 04:57:43 AM
Most interesting...I was listening recently to Ashberyana (on Naxos, with Da Camara Houston) and really enjoyed it.

But hard as it is to believe, Bridge have outdone themselves with this cover. They go from low to low in this respect... ???

they do seem to specialize in that regard... woof
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on April 28, 2018, 04:58:26 AM
http://www.youtube.com/v/6IJ2brvSa5I
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 06, 2018, 09:43:39 AM
New article for Wuorinen's 80th birthday, coming soon.

https://nmbx.newmusicusa.org/the-syncopated-stylings-of-charles-wuorinen/

Another recent article in the NY Times:
https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/25/arts/music/charles-wuorinen-brokeback-mountain-city-opera.html
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 07, 2018, 03:54:23 AM
I noticed a curious trend in recent reviews of Brokeback Mountain that the most criticism is directed against Wuorinen's ability to create a harsh, dangerous environment surrounding the two lowers through the musical language he employs. I haven't heard the opera aside from a few excerpts, which I found to be highly emotive and somehow I feel as if Wuorinen perfectly captures not only the dangerously conservative environment of the era but also the complex, passionate emotions within the characters themselves and how this impacts how they express or suppress their emotions to one another. Reviews like this one (http://observer.com/2018/06/opera-review-charles-wuorinen-brokeback-mountain-lacks-passion/) in the Observer make themselves appear that maybe the critic walked into the wrong theatre..... :laugh:
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 07, 2018, 04:07:12 AM
Likewise, while I have not yet heard the entire opera, the excerpts which I have heard impress me as both (1) Wuorinen at the top of his game, and (2) beautifully suited to the stage endeavor.

My impression is that the negative critiques are driven by a lack of sympathy with the character of Charles’s work (which is impervious to reason), and possibly even a chafing at Charles’s expressed opinions about Art, Culture, &c., which (as they are easier – than his music – for the man in the street to understand) are a pretty easy target for folks who just want it all to be warm and fuzzy.

And, obviously:  More people are going to have an opinion about what an opera based on Brokeback Mountain “ought to be,” than are going to give Charles’s work a fair hearing.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 07, 2018, 04:25:41 AM
Well, I am rather certain that I indeed had some ideas of what a Brokeback Mountain opera 'ought to be' and hearing some excerpts really just confirmed in my mind that his retro-expressionist style is apt for the emotions present in this kind of love story.

(And, to be honest, any kind of retro-expressionist opera that stylistically has more than a few things in common with the operas of Schoenberg and Berg are gonna really tap into the type of music I have a real weakness for)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 07, 2018, 04:33:53 AM
Likewise, while I have not yet heard the entire opera, the excerpts which I have heard impress me as both (1) Wuorinen at the top of his game, and (2) beautifully suited to the stage endeavor.

My impression is that the negative critiques are driven by a lack of sympathy with the character of Charles’s work (which is impervious to reason), and possibly even a chafing at Charles’s expressed opinions about Art, Culture, &c., which (as they are easier – than his music – for the man in the street to understand) are a pretty easy target for folks who just want it all to be warm and fuzzy.

And, obviously:  More people are going to have an opinion about what an opera based on Brokeback Mountain “ought to be,” than are going to give Charles’s work a fair hearing.

To the bit I underlined.......I am curious to know more about his thoughts on arts and culture. I heard that his response to Lamar's Pulitzer Prize was negative based on the idea that people are losing an interest in 'high culture' or something like that? One other big proponent of serialism (let's call him Pierre) spoke quite favourably of how pop music is really progressing new music technology and instruments and that it highly values a culture that renews itself and explores new methods of sound production in ways which have a big cultural impact. Perhaps Wuorinen would be of that opinion too and I have only read stuff out of context?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 07, 2018, 06:23:03 AM
To the bit I underlined.......I am curious to know more about his thoughts on arts and culture. I heard that his response to Lamar's Pulitzer Prize was negative based on the idea that people are losing an interest in 'high culture' or something like that? One other big proponent of serialism (let's call him Pierre) spoke quite favourably of how pop music is really progressing new music technology and instruments and that it highly values a culture that renews itself and explores new methods of sound production in ways which have a big cultural impact. Perhaps Wuorinen would be of that opinion too and I have only read stuff out of context?

Nope, it's in the NYT article I linked to.  He thinks that the Lamar Pulitzer is just the proof of the death of high culture that he'd been complaining about all along.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 07, 2018, 06:47:46 AM
Nope, it's in the NYT article I linked to.  He thinks that the Lamar Pulitzer is just the proof of the death of high culture that he'd been complaining about all along.
That's a bit of a silly thing to complain about.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 07, 2018, 07:00:01 AM
That's a bit of a silly thing to complain about.

Well, more specifically, he called it the proof of the "final disappearance of any societal interest in high culture" in the country at large.  You haven't been to the US, I don't think, but it's certainly true that the number of people in this country who are even aware of Charles Wuorinen's existence is vanishingly small, despite his own status as a Pulitzer winner and prolific composer.  National media pay little attention to concert music.  There is next to no awareness of the fact that composers are even out there writing new works for orchestral and chamber groups.

That said, I do think that griping about popular culture is misplaced, and I think much more along the lines of Takemitsu or Schoenberg, who thought there was no shame in enjoying popular music at all.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 07, 2018, 08:36:17 AM
Nope, it's in the NYT article I linked to.  He thinks that the Lamar Pulitzer is just the proof of the death of high culture that he'd been complaining about all along.

I do not say simply, “He is right” (though, he might be, mightn’t he?) but . . . does he not have a point?

That said, I do think that griping about popular culture is misplaced, and I think much more along the lines of Takemitsu or Schoenberg, who thought there was no shame in enjoying popular music at all.

I don’t think it is that Charles thinks it shameful to enjoy popular music, really.  My read (of part, anyway) of his quarrel is, that even (“even,” if you please!) the pool of (to use the term for purposes of discussion) Classical Music has been muddied with a trend to lazily echo popular music.  So, not to say that it is shameful to like popular music, but it is a cultural disappointment if pop music is the leveler for all musics.  Personally, I participate in this argument, to the degree that I resent (e.g.) John Williams being lionized as (warning: exaggeration for rhetorical effect approaching) as America’s Greatest Living Composer.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 07, 2018, 09:09:55 AM
I don’t think it is that Charles thinks it shameful to enjoy popular music, really.  My read (of part, anyway) of his quarrel is, that even (“even,” if you please!) the pool of (to use the term for purposes of discussion) Classical Music has been muddied with a trend to lazily echo popular music.  So, not to say that it is shameful to like popular music, but it is a cultural disappointment if pop music is the leveler for all musics.  Personally, I participate in this argument, to the degree that I resent (e.g.) John Williams being lionized as (warning: exaggeration for rhetorical effect approaching) as America’s Greatest Living Composer.

I think "highbrow culture" is as high as it ever was. What has disappeared is "middlebrow culture."
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 07, 2018, 09:33:20 AM
You have a point.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 08, 2018, 03:37:35 AM
I do not say simply, “He is right” (though, he might be, mightn’t he?) but . . . does he not have a point?

I don’t think it is that Charles thinks it shameful to enjoy popular music, really.  My read (of part, anyway) of his quarrel is, that even (“even,” if you please!) the pool of (to use the term for purposes of discussion) Classical Music has been muddied with a trend to lazily echo popular music.  So, not to say that it is shameful to like popular music, but it is a cultural disappointment if pop music is the leveler for all musics.  Personally, I participate in this argument, to the degree that I resent (e.g.) John Williams being lionized as (warning: exaggeration for rhetorical effect approaching) as America’s Greatest Living Composer.

Point taken, and I concede that you are more likely to know Wuorinen's thoughts on this and other matters than I am.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 08, 2018, 05:43:51 PM
The whole idea of 'high' and 'low' culture should always be questioned. There is nothing in so-called 'low' culture that doesn't include some kind of elite level of understanding/knowledge and nothing in so-called 'high' culture that isn't comparable to so-called 'low' culture.

There are things that pop and hip-hop do to an extraordinarily level of intricacy that is absolutely equal (but different) to Mr. Wuorinen's note-rows when it comes down to the level of training and skill required to fully understand music production to create a really really good pop or hip-hop album.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Alek Hidell on June 08, 2018, 06:05:16 PM
The whole idea of 'high' and 'low' culture should always be questioned. There is nothing in so-called 'low' culture that doesn't include some kind of elite level of understanding/knowledge and nothing in so-called 'high' culture that isn't comparable to so-called 'low' culture.

There are things that pop and hip-hop do to an extraordinarily level of intricacy that is absolutely equal (but different) to Mr. Wuorinen's note-rows when it comes down to the level of training and skill required to fully understand music production to create a really really good pop or hip-hop album.

I approve this message. And let's face it: there is very often more than a hint of racism in distinctions between "high" and "low" "culture."
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2018, 03:02:25 AM
+1

Wuorinen's ideas about low culture appear to me to reflect the driving force behind Colonialism:  Missionaries attempting to replace "primitive" native religions with Christianity; Europeans invading the Americas and enslaving, exploiting and perpetrating cultural genocide on native peoples all across the globe.

The assumption is always that European culture is superior to whatever exists elsewhere. 

For sure what Wuroinen is expressing is a far less dangerous variety than anything like the crimes against humanity performed by Colonial overlords - but the mindset strikes me as  similar and just as distasteful.  Wuorinen simply assumes his music, his taste, is superior and naturally should not lose ground to what he sees as "lower" forms of music.

The irony is that his opera about two cowboys (low culture) is his own act of cultural colonialism as he exploits the story of two representatives of a society in which his music would hardly be understood.

This is a truth that far too few are willing to bring up. I don't know if Wuorinen himself sympathises with colonialism through his views on 'high' and 'low' culture, but it may well have unconsciously influenced his views.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on June 09, 2018, 04:18:57 AM
I must express my strongest disagreement with much of what has been stated in recent posts here. Saying that when someone is an advocate for “high culture” (and sorry, but IMHO there definitely is such a thing), they are somehow influenced by, or even expousing, racist or colonialist views, is unfair and perfidious. There is nothing wrong in defending art as it has evolved over the centuries into a universal language accepted by many (regardless of their nationality, race or any other personal condsiderations), The achievements of the Western cultural tradition are rivalled by only very few other artistic expressions. In music, certainly, that is the case, and even the richest and most elaborate “popular” genres (be it flamenco in Spain, some jazz or Indian classical)  cannot be equated to classical as an art form.

And let’s be clear: Charles Wuorinen has in no way “exploited” the (fictional) story of two cowboys who couldn’t care less about his music. What he’s done is use an art form (opera) and a musical language that transcend time and space to tell a story in a way that helps it stop being “local” and gives it a “universal” (more successfully or not, that is another issue) character—as have innumerable operas in the past (some of them better, some of them worse, that’s again another issue).

Who was it that said “show me something like Remembrance of Things Past produced by the aborigines of Australia, and then we’ll talk” (or something to that effect). Cruel words, perhaps, but the man had a point...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 09, 2018, 05:42:02 AM
It has certainly taken Lack of Sympathy With Wuorinen’s Work to the next level.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 09, 2018, 05:53:53 AM
Who was it that said “show me something like Remembrance of Things Past produced by the aborigines of Australia, and then we’ll talk” (or something to that effect). Cruel words, perhaps, but the man had a point...

https://www.amazon.com/Walking-People-Native-American-History/dp/1879678101
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 09, 2018, 06:00:15 AM
https://www.amazon.com/Walking-People-Native-American-History/dp/1879678101

Thank you, most interesting!

On a less serious note, what do we mean, “Oops, I Did It Again” is not culturally equivalent to this?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 06:09:10 AM
I must express my strongest disagreement with much of what has been stated in recent posts here. Saying that when someone is an advocate for “high culture” (and sorry, but IMHO there definitely is such a thing), they are somehow influenced by, or even expousing, racist or colonialist views, is unfair and perfidious. There is nothing wrong in defending art as it has evolved over the centuries into a universal language accepted by many (regardless of their nationality, race or any other personal condsiderations), The achievements of the Western cultural tradition are rivalled by only very few other artistic expressions. In music, certainly, that is the case, and even the richest and most elaborate “popular” genres (be it flamenco in Spain, some jazz or Indian classical)  cannot be equated to classical as an art form.

You are simply valuing a western written tradition over oral traditions found all over the world.  Your conception of "art as it has evolved over the centuries into a universal language" exposes an unconscious cultural chauvinism.  I doubt that a North Carolina fiddler would care about your "universal language", nor a Delta bluesman.  Nor should they, since what they accomplish cannot even be expressed by the techniques and notation of western classical music.  The rhythmic and melodic subtleties far transcend a written tradition. Indian Classical music has little to do with what you think of as a "universal language".

I could go on, but what is the point?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 09, 2018, 06:24:06 AM
You are simply valuing a western written tradition over oral traditions found all over the world.  Your conception of "art as it has evolved over the centuries into a universal language" exposes an unconscious cultural chauvinism.  I doubt that a North Carolina fiddler would care about your "universal language", nor a Delta bluesman.  Nor should they, since what they accomplish cannot even be expressed by the techniques and notation of western classical music.  The rhythmic and melodic subtleties far transcend a written tradition. Indian Classical music has little to do with what you think of as a "universal language".

I could go on, but what is the point?

I think that Ritter intended "universal language" to mean "a language that communicates beyond the cultural and historical circumstances that produced it" rather than "a language that communicates to all individuals."  Certainly it is true that no music fulfills the requirements of the latter.

Still, it is also true that this classical tradition is not limited to one ethnic group, social class, or historical period.  There are composers and performers working in the tradition from all over the world, and I think Ritter would consider them full participants in it just as I would.  The traditions you are discussing, while certainly fine, are more limited in terms of those things (ethnicity, class, etc.), and it is this relative lack of limitations that makes the written tradition more universal.  This is true in spite of the limitations that do indeed exist because of the nature of the notation itself.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 06:50:39 AM
I think that Ritter intended "universal language" to mean "a language that communicates beyond the cultural and historical circumstances that produced it" rather than "a language that communicates to all individuals."  Certainly it is true that no music fulfills the requirements of the latter.

Still, it is also true that this classical tradition is not limited to one ethnic group, social class, or historical period.  There are composers and performers working in the tradition from all over the world, and I think Ritter would consider them full participants in it just as I would.  The traditions you are discussing, while certainly fine, are more limited in terms of those things (ethnicity, class, etc.), and it is this relative lack of limitations that makes the written tradition more universal.  This is true in spite of the limitations that do indeed exist because of the nature of the notation itself.

The problem, imo, is not that the western classical music tradition has produced music of a lasting and phenomenal quality.  I love it, listen to it and my personal library is filled with it.  But it sits next to music from other traditions which I also love and value no less.

What I am arguing against is the mindset that makes a claim that the best of western classical music is superior to the best music which has emerged (also over centuries and globally) from vernacular traditions. (I added the qualifier "best" so that Karl would not make some reductive quip about comparing Brittney Spears with Beethoven.)

The semantics of "high" vs. "low" art is nauseating to me.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on June 09, 2018, 08:05:02 AM
I think that Ritter intended "universal language" to mean "a language that communicates beyond the cultural and historical circumstances that produced it" rather than "a language that communicates to all individuals."  Certainly it is true that no music fulfills the requirements of the latter.
Exactly.

Quote
Still, it is also true that this classical tradition is not limited to one ethnic group, social class, or historical period.  There are composers and performers working in the tradition from all over the world, and I think Ritter would consider them full participants in it just as I would.  The traditions you are discussing, while certainly fine, are more limited in terms of those things (ethnicity, class, etc.), and it is this relative lack of limitations that makes the written tradition more universal.
Right again. The NHK Symphony Orchestra in Japan, cinducted e.g. by Alan Gilbert, playing a program consistent of e.g. a Haydn Symphony, a piece by Ginastera and one by Bartök is something that makes perfect sense. The Seville Dixieland band (if such a thing exists) on the other hand , would be just pastiche and imitation, with very limited intellectual (or aesthetic) appeal.

I could go on, but what is the point?
Indeed. I believe we all went through this here on GMG when Bob Dylan was awarded the Nobel Prize... ::)

Quote
The semantics of "high" vs. "low" art is nauseating to me.
For me, it’s simply a fact.

https://www.amazon.com/Walking-People-Native-American-History/dp/1879678101

Most interesting. Good to learn that this tradition seems to find itself in what one could call its “Homeric stage”.  ;)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 08:32:31 AM
Quote
The semantics of "high" vs. "low" art is nauseating to me.

For me, it’s simply a fact.

You have made that clear. 

Another irony is that most vernacular music is the product of oppressed people, slaves,and those marginalized by western colonial powers.  Such as the Amazonian Indians whose rhythmic styles influenced the music from the slums which resulted in the choro, or Spanish gypsies who created Flamenco music.  Or the black slaves who created blues and jazz.  Folk musics have been appropriated by western classical composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Manuel de Falla, Leonard Bernstein and even Dvorak who urged American composers to do the same.  Composers from Brahms to Bartok have written music based on folk music.

So, the arrogance is staggering in the idea that the colonizers and appropriators create high art but the music from which they often draw inspiration is low.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 09, 2018, 08:48:36 AM
Another irony is that most vernacular music is the product of oppressed people, slaves,and those marginalized by western colonial powers.  Such as the Amazonian Indians who created the choro, or Spanish gypsies who created Flamenco music.  Or the black slaves who created blues and jazz.  Folk musics have been appropriated by western classical composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Manuel de Falla, Leonard Bernstein and even Dvorak who urged American composers to do the same.  Composers from Brahms to Bartok have written music based on folk music.

So, the arrogance is staggering in the idea that the colonizers and appropriators create high art but the music from which they often draw inspiration from is low.

From my perspective, it is recorded popular music, not the notated tradition, which has done the most to erase traditional and folk musics all over the world (and very nearly succeeded).  Bartok on the other hand did his utmost to preserve folk traditions.

Also, musicians are, in general, not a part of the ruling class, especially historically.  In the Baroque and Classical eras, the musician (composer, performer) usually held a status closer to a servant than to an aristocrat.

Going back to the initial subject, it's not at all clear that Wuorinen meant to oppose high culture to vernacular culture.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 08:56:14 AM
From my perspective, it is recorded popular music, not the notated tradition, which has done the most to erase traditional and folk musics all over the world (and very nearly succeeded).  Bartok on the other hand did his utmost to preserve folk traditions.

Also, musicians are, in general, not a part of the ruling class, especially historically.  In the Baroque and Classical eras, the musician (composer, performer) usually held a status closer to a servant than to an aristocrat.

Going back to the initial subject, it's not at all clear that Wuorinen meant to oppose high culture to vernacular culture.

The irony I refer to is not about Bartok, who I agree had a high regard for folk music and worked to preserve it.  No, I am attacking the idea of high vs. low art, with the assumed bias that high art is superior, while many proponents of so-called high art themselves hold so-called low art in high regard.

What you say about Bartok is also true for someone like Eric Clapton who has done his utmost to advance the careers and music of the blues artists he was inspired by.  So it is not all exploitation, although there has been much of that in pop music industry.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on June 09, 2018, 09:05:13 AM

Another irony is that most vernacular music is the product of oppressed people, slaves,and those marginalized by western colonial powers.  Such as the Amazonian Indians who created the choro, or Spanish gypsies who created Flamenco music.  Or the black slaves who created blues and jazz.
In my view, the real irony is having to appeal to the sufferings (real or imagined) of ethnic groups to establish the intrinsic (or relative) values of their artistic traditions. And just a minor point: the chôro started as a purely urban genre in Rio de Janeiro in the 19th century, adapting mainly European styles of the era. It’s relation (if any) to Amazonian Indians is tenuous at most.

Quote
Folk musics have been appropriated by western classical composers such as Heitor Villa-Lobos, Manuel de Falla, Leonard Bernstein and even Dvorak who urged American composers to do the same.  Composers from Brahms to Bartok have written music based on folk music.
No, the beauty of it is that the Western classical tradition has the strength and ability to incorporate popular and ethnic musics (Flamenco, gamelan, jazz, etc.) into its fold and idiom. The contrary, like it ir not, is much less likely.

Quote
So, the arrogance is staggering in the idea that the colonizers and appropriators create high art but the music from which they often draw inspiration from is low.
You see, this new idea if “cultural appropriation “ is something entirely alien to me, and is IMHO a sad reaction to historical injustices (real or imagined). The fact that gypsies may be marginalized in Spanish society, or that India was colonised by Britain,  does not make Falla’s El amor brujo or Roussel’s Padmavâtî lesser (or greater) works.

I’ve been told by my children (who are both in university in America) that a westerner eating sushi is seen in some quarters as an act if “cultural appropriation”. O tempora, o mores...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 09:15:06 AM
ritter I am not trying to argue that vernacular music is superior to western classical music, but opposing your allegation that western classical music is superior to all others.  It is your idea of high art and low art that I am arguing against, not the intrinsic worth of classical music.

I'm done; return this thread to Wuorinen, please.

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on June 09, 2018, 09:24:17 AM
Fair enough. And apologies for the clumsy use of the “quote” function in my last post (which has now been corrected).

Regards,
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 10:40:38 AM
This will really be my last word on this aspect of the topic.  I guess the best example of what I'm talking about is Aaron Copland incorporating almost note for note Bill Stepp's recording of an old fiddle tune "Boneparte's Retreat" into his score of Rodeo.

https://www.youtube.com/v/1yeQucos9-M

advance to 33 seconds to hear the fiddle tune as orchestrated by Copland

https://www.youtube.com/v/WYSHYQtKZXk

I cannot imagine that Copland would claim that his version is high art and Bill Stepps is low art.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 09, 2018, 11:13:28 AM
This will really be my last word on this aspect of the topic.  I guess the best example of what I'm talking about is Aaron Copland incorporating almost note for note Bill Stepp's recording of an old fiddle tune "Boneparte's Retreat" into his score of Rodeo.

I cannot imagine that Copland would claim that his version is high art and Bill Stepps is low art.

There was an intermediary involved, in the figure of Ruth Crawford (Seeger) who transcribed the fiddle tune and published it in an anthology of American folk music.  Copland was specifically asked to use material from folk anthologies in Rodeo by the commissioner.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on June 09, 2018, 11:18:02 AM
It’s called a quotation  ;)... “Elle avait une jambe en bois...”  ;D
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 09, 2018, 11:19:01 AM
There was an intermediary involved, in the figure of Ruth Crawford (Seeger) who transcribed the fiddle tune and published it in an anthology of American folk music.  Copland was specifically asked to use material from folk anthologies in Rodeo by the commissioner.

I am not sure what your point is.  The fact remains that the folk fiddle tune Boneparte's Retreat is not low art and Copland's Rodeo is not high art.  They are both examples of art.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2018, 03:16:27 PM
I don't think being against cultural appropriation is at all anything to do with disengaging with other cultures to the point of advocating a kind of cultural/ethnic purity. Cultural appropriation as I understand it is a specifically capitalist exploitation of culture, where companies, businesses or representatives of ruling colonial powers use aspects of oppressed/historically oppressed cultures for their own profit without the benefit of any cultural exchange. There are examples here in Australia of businesses who sell fake Aboriginal art (made by people who aren't Aboriginal and haven't studied the techniques from experts) for their own profit, passing it off as authentic Aboriginal. This is cultural appropriation as it presents something inauthentic as authentic simply for profit. If they hired Aboriginal artists to promote their work, there would be no issue and it creates both support for people who are still marginalised in this country and allows for a much wider appreciation and contact with their art from people of other cultures.


And also I'll just quickly say (along with others who have said similarly) just because the creative works in different cultures are expressed differently doesn't make them more or less intricate, more or less complex, more or less important or more or less 'universal' than creative works from any other culture.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 09, 2018, 03:18:32 PM
And I think there's nothing wrong with celebrating significant creative works in any culture. Wuorinen has a significant body of work that I would love to see celebrated by more and more musicians.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: chadfeldheimer on June 12, 2018, 12:47:25 AM
Just know came along that interesting discussion. Even if it seems finished now, I have to defend Wuorinen a bit.

I agree that there is no genre that is superior to other ones. Stravinsky's "Agon" IMO is just as great as say The Beatles' "White Album", Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" or "Fear of a black Planet" from Public Enemy. Why does classical music have to be superior? The only answer making sense to me is: For massaging the ego of classical music snobs. And yes, in colonial times cultural superiority was used for justifying the oppressing of other peoples for economic benefit.

But I find it more probable that Wuorinens remarks are not a sign of a snobbish or even colonial mindset but simply for his dislike of Hip Hop. I think there are many people above 80, that don't like Hip Hop. And partly I can understand that, because of the negativity transported by many Hip-Hop-artists promoting e.g. a gangster/pimp lifestyle or ranting against gays and (other) ethnic minorities. Only a few weeks ago in Germany there was a scandal because of 2 Hip-Hoppers becoming the Echo award, an award purely based on sales-figures. Those Hip-Hoppers in some of their lyrics are clearly deriding gays and (even worse) Holocaust victims. In the following many former award winners gave their award back and the Echo-award as a hole was discontinued. I know that Kendrick Lamar does not have lyrics like this and that his music is among the best Hip-Hop if not Pop-music in general since maybe 20 years. But I suspect Wuorinen did not take this into account and just expressed his dislike for Hip-Hop in general. I assume if a jazz artist had gotten the Pulizer-prize he would not have reacted this way.     
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 02:02:28 AM
Just know came along that interesting discussion. Even if it seems finished now, I have to defend Wuorinen a bit.

I agree that there is no genre that is superior to other ones. Stravinsky's "Agon" IMO is just as great as say The Beatles' "White Album", Miles Davis' "Bitches Brew" or "Fear of a black Planet" from Public Enemy. Why does classical music have to be superior?

Classical music does not have to be superior to Bitches Brew or “Back in the USSR.”

I think that to give the question Why does classical music have to be superior? its proper context, comparable questions are, Why does Bitches Brew have to be superior to Kenny G? and Why does “Dust in the Wind” have to be superior to “Firework”?

As one who loves a lot of jazz and pop, I readily sign on to discussion calling the superiority of classical music into question.

However, unless we wallow in the “Everyone gets prizes” mindset, I take it that no one in the present discussion believes that all jazz, nor all pop, is work of enduring value.

The counter-argument is, But there is classical music drivel, too!

Which is true;  however, two senses in which classical music may be superior to jazz and pop are:

1.  Historically, composers of classical music pursued the study and practice of their craft as professionals.  Even the drivel, is well made;  and if it be drivel, it is generally a question of content.  (I say, “historically,” because in our day there is an increased dilution of the practice, through whatever combination of laziness on the part of the practitioner, and – well, what is related – reliance on the appliances/tools, rather than the honing of skill.)
2. Pop (and to some degree jazz) is a commodity, there are consumers who want what they want, and pay for it, and there is an industry which churns out product to be sold.  So, I agree that there is great pop music (and, yes, some of it is enormously successful, commercially);  but there is IMO no denying that there is a much smaller excellence:boilerplate ratio in pop.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: chadfeldheimer on June 12, 2018, 04:09:32 AM
Classical music does not have to be superior to Bitches Brew or “Back in the USSR.”

I think that to give the question Why does classical music have to be superior? its proper context, comparable questions are, Why does Bitches Brew have to be superior to Kenny G? ?[/i]
I wasn't aware of Kenny G till now, even though this guy sold more than 75 million albums, as I learned from Wikipedia. I guess that's even more than Miles Davis , or? So in commercial regard it is even reversed: Kenny G >> Miles Davis.
Regarding the artistic value, if something like this exists: It is not easy, or even impossible to give an answer due to the lack of reliable criteria. I will still try it: Miles Davis had a clear, original, uncompromising musical vision and realized it together with his band very successfully. Kenny G's vision seems rather to swim in dollars.  :laugh:


1.  Historically, composers of classical music pursued the study and practice of their craft as professionals.  Even the drivel, is well made;  and if it be drivel, it is generally a question of content.  (I say, “historically,” because in our day there is an increased dilution of the practice, through whatever combination of laziness on the part of the practitioner, and – well, what is related – reliance on the appliances/tools, rather than the honing of skill.)
2. Pop (and to some degree jazz) is a commodity, there are consumers who want what they want, and pay for it, and there is an industry which churns out product to be sold.  So, I agree that there is great pop music (and, yes, some of it is enormously successful, commercially);  but there is IMO no denying that there is a much smaller excellence:boilerplate ratio in pop.
Maybe you are right that classical music has a better share than pop. But I assume the number of pop compositions produced e.g. last year by far outnumbers the number of classical compositions, and not all of the former are so much commercially oriented. Under these circumstances there arise quite a number of "great" pieces in the pop realm too, e.g. from Kendrick Lamar. BTW in classical music the commercial aspect isn't unimportant either.   

Regarding the skill for producing such music. It might be true that most pop musicians cannot be described as virtuosos, but I agree with Jessop that the skill for producing good pop music generally is much underestimated, especially when it comes to using the studio as as the instrument.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 04:22:44 AM
I wasn't aware of Kenny G till now, even though this guy sold more than 75 million albums, as I learned from Wikipedia. I guess that's even more than Miles Davis , or? So in commercial regard it is even reversed: Kenny G >> Miles Davis.
Regarding the artistic value, if something like this exists: It is not easy, or even impossible to give an answer due to the lack of reliable criteria. I will still try it: Miles Davis had a clear, original, uncompromising musical vision and realized it together with his band very successfully. Kenny G's vision seems rather to swim in dollars.  :laugh:

Id est, commoditized jazz.

Quote
Maybe you are right that classical music has a better share than pop. But I assume the number of pop compositions produced e.g. last year by far outnumbers the number of classical compositions, and not all of the former are so much commercially oriented. Under these circumstances there arise quite a number of "great" pieces in the pop realm too, e.g. from Kendrick Lamar. BTW in classical music the commercial aspect isn't unimportant either.

Say more.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 12, 2018, 04:30:22 AM
But I suspect Wuorinen did not take this into account and just expressed his dislike for Hip-Hop in general. I assume if a jazz artist had gotten the Pulizer-prize he would not have reacted this way.     

Just to remark that this has in fact happened a few times.  Ornette Coleman won back in the early 2000s soon after the rule change that allowed works that existed primarily in the form of a recording rather than a score.

Of course Ornette Coleman is only marginally more popular than Charles Wuorinen...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: chadfeldheimer on June 12, 2018, 04:55:02 AM
Say more.
There is not much more to say. IMO there are just as many high quality products released in the realm of pop than in the realm of classical music. It is only consequent that a pop album gets the Pulizer Prize.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: chadfeldheimer on June 12, 2018, 04:57:07 AM
Just to remark that this has in fact happened a few times.  Ornette Coleman won back in the early 2000s soon after the rule change that allowed works that existed primarily in the form of a recording rather than a score.

Of course Ornette Coleman is only marginally more popular than Charles Wuorinen...
Interesting. I suppose the Pulizer prices for jazzers were less controversion than the one for Kendrick Lamar, or?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 05:01:05 AM
There is not much more to say.

Of course there is.  Please enlarge on the commercial aspect of classical music.  I ask as someone who earns hardly anything from the music I make;  so from my perspective, there is hardly any commercial aspect of classical music.

I am interested in your perspective, which apparently differs from mine;  and so far we have only an assertion.  An assertion without discussion, begging your pardon, is of scant interest.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2018, 05:04:28 AM
Why are you  comparing classical music with commercial music?  Commercial music which is produced in order to make money, a product no different than Coca Cola, does not arise out of the same motivation as a classical composer desiring to create art.  Sure some commercial music can be artistically done - but for me the non-classical music that compares most favorably to classical music is vernacular music, folk based, music such as blues, mountain music, flamenco, fado, eastern European peasant music, Chinese and Middle Eastern street music - etc.

If I had to choose, I'd prefer music from the "folk" over that from the conservatory.  Music played for the poor disenfranchised people has more of what I identify with than music created for the upper classes.  Classical music came from the court and church, both were institutions of the upper classes.  The classical music audience is still the upper classes; poor folk simply cannot afford to attend a symphony concert or opera subscription.  But the front porch music they make and hear is what they understand and enjoy anyway - and it fulfills their need for music, no less than someone attending a classical concert.

So when I hear people claiming that classical music is superior to all other forms of music it seems elitist, cut off from much of the world's population, and concerned primarily with the educated upper classes rather than poor sometimes illiterate folk.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: chadfeldheimer on June 12, 2018, 05:20:40 AM
Of course there is.  Please enlarge on the commercial aspect of classical music.  I ask as someone who earns hardly anything from the music I make;  so from my perspective, there is hardly any commercial aspect of classical music.

I am interested in your perspective, which apparently differs from mine;  and so far we have only an assertion.  An assertion without discussion, begging your pardon, is of scant interest.
I don't like the commercialism of pop music too. But I am a fan of and have a large collection of non commercial pop music, which is just as uncompromised as modern classical music, maybe even more so because there is no support from public institutions like (at least in Germany or Europe) for classical musicians. It files under pop just because it has it's roots there and not in the "academic" classical realm. Hope that made my point a bit clearer.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 12, 2018, 05:22:16 AM
A genre such as symphonic music, Jazz, folk, defines a set of constraints and rules. Human beings encounter those constraints, bring with them their cultural influences and identity, and may create something. The quality of all genre's of music is ultimately limited by human creativity, and therefore I find the ultimate quality of all genre's of music to be the same. Not every instance reaches that highest level of quality, obviously

Some forms, such as some classical forms, come with very elaborate rules. If I aspire to write a fugue, there are very complex rules of harmony and voice leading which, if mastered, automatically produce something which sounds like a fugue. That is a support to the classical composer, allowing him or her to write drivel which sounds very accomplished. This is what some people seem to mistake for the superiority of classical music.

Then there is the commercial side. All forms of music have a commercial side. There is certainly music whose motivation is almost 100% commercial, and this is pretty strongly anti-correlated with real artistic interest. Pop music has it's Brittney Spears, and Classical music has its Start Wars Soundtrack albums.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 05:27:39 AM
I don't like the commercialism of pop music too. But I am a fan of and have a large collection of non commercial pop music, which is just as uncompromised as modern classical music, maybe even more so because there is no support from public institutions like (at least in Germany or Europe) for classical musicians. It files under pop just because it has it's roots there and not in the "academic" classical realm. Hope that made my point a bit clearer.

Well, in my post earlier my model does allow for non-commercial pop.

I'll consider your point clarified  ;)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 05:28:56 AM
A genre such as symphonic music, Jazz, folk, defines a set of constraints and rules. Human beings encounter those constraints, bring with them their cultural influences and identity, and may create something. The quality of all genre's of music is ultimately limited by human creativity, and therefore I find the ultimate quality of all genre's of music to be the same. Not every instance reaches that highest level of quality, obviously

Some forms, such as some classical forms, come with very elaborate rules. If I aspire to write a fugue, there are very complex rules of harmony and voice leading which, if mastered, automatically produce something which sounds like a fugue. That is a support to the classical composer, allowing him or her to write drivel which sounds very accomplished. This is what some people seem to mistake for the superiority of classical music.

Then there is the commercial side. All forms of music have a commercial side. There is certainly music whose motivation is almost 100% commercial, and this is pretty strongly anti-correlated with real artistic interest. Pop music has it's Brittney Spears, and Classical music has its Start Wars Soundtrack albums.

Yes;  if the music goes ta-da! for money, you get the ta-da! that the money pays for.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: chadfeldheimer on June 12, 2018, 05:48:11 AM
Why are you  comparing classical music with commercial music?  Commercial music which is produced in order to make money, a product no different than Coca Cola, does not arise out of the same motivation as a classical composer desiring to create art.  Sure some commercial music can be artistically done - but for me the non-classical music that compares most favorably to classical music is vernacular music, folk based, music such as blues, mountain music, flamenco, fado, eastern European peasant music, Chinese and Middle Eastern street music - etc.

If I had to choose, I'd prefer music from the "folk" over that from the conservatory.  Music played for the poor disenfranchised people has more of what I identify with than music created for the upper classes.  Classical music came from the court and church, both were institutions of the upper classes.  The classical music audience is still the upper classes; poor folk simply cannot afford to attend a symphony concert or opera subscription.  But the front porch music they make and hear is what they understand and enjoy anyway - and it fulfills their need for music, no less than someone attending a classical concert.

So when I hear people claiming that classical music is superior to all other forms of music it seems elitist, cut off from much of the world's population, and concerned primarily with the educated upper classes rather than poor sometimes illiterate folk.
Actually my main point was that Wuorinens commentary was rather directed against Hip-Hop than against non-classical music or music from other ethnicities. But the discussion lead to another direction.

I did not compare classical with commercial but with pop music, which makes a difference IMO. In the meaning I used it pop is music coming from a certain tradition based on rock and pop. In that definition even uncompromising bands like Throbbing Gristle or the Residents are pop. Regarding folk music - I don't have a strong opinion about it, due to lacking knowledge I have to admit. I know a bit traditional chinese music via my ex-wife. That sounded to me highly sophisticated with an archaic grandeur.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2018, 06:10:31 AM
Actually my main point was that Wuorinens commentary was rather directed against Hip-Hop than against non-classical music or music from other ethnicities. But the discussion lead to another direction.

I did not compare classical with commercial but with pop music, which makes a difference IMO. In the meaning I used it pop is music coming from a certain tradition based on rock and pop. In that definition even uncompromising bands like Throbbing Gristle or the Residents are pop. Regarding folk music - I don't have a strong opinion about it, due to lacking knowledge I have to admit. I know a bit traditional chinese music via my ex-wife. That sounded to me highly sophisticated with an archaic grandeur.

Pop music = commercial music, i.e. music created to appeal to a mass audience and marketed to become as profitable as possible.  As Scarpia pointed out, all forms of music have a commercial example.  I have zero interest in commercial music in any form.

I would guess it is as rare for pop music to be as successful artistically as it is commercially as it is for a classical composer to make a living solely from his composing.  Most classical composers have another job: professor, conductor, musicologist, or insurance executive, e.g. Charles Ives.  Nothing wrong with that or anything to be ashamed of.  The same is true for most musicians working in a vernacular tradition. 

In order to preserve the highest artistic level a creator needs to be free from commercial concerns as much as possible.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on June 12, 2018, 07:23:58 AM
I know that Kendrick Lamar does not have lyrics like this. 

Actually Kendrick Lamar has plenty of lyrics like that. You can read them for yourself online. While the critical praise is for lyrics that sometimes go beyond hip-hop tropes, as well as the production, the hip-hop tropes are still there. For me, that is a huge turnoff – I am still looking for hip-hop that involves absolutely no braggadocio, rapping about rapping, or references to American sociopolitical issues – but by the same token, other people could probably accuse Wuorinen or other composers of their own resorting to well-worn tropes.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2018, 07:33:05 AM
I am still looking for hip-hop that involves absolutely no braggadocio, rapping about rapping, or references to American sociopolitical issues – but by the same token, other people could probably accuse Wuorinen or other composers of their own resorting to well-worn tropes.

The Roots (despite The Jimmy Fallon Show) come close to what you are looking for. D'Angelo is also very good, although his music is a Hip-Hop/R&B stylistic mix.  Also, the Native Tongues "is a collective of late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop artists known for their positive-minded, good-natured Afrocentric lyrics, and for pioneering the use of eclectic sampling and later jazz-influenced beats. Its principal members are the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. The collective was also closely tied to the Universal Zulu Nation." (wiki)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on June 12, 2018, 07:58:55 AM
The Roots (despite The Jimmy Fallon Show) come close to what you are looking for. D'Angelo is also very good, although his music is a Hip-Hop/R&B stylistic mix.  Also, the Native Tongues "is a collective of late 1980s and early 1990s hip-hop artists known for their positive-minded, good-natured Afrocentric lyrics, and for pioneering the use of eclectic sampling and later jazz-influenced beats. Its principal members are the Jungle Brothers, De La Soul, and A Tribe Called Quest. The collective was also closely tied to the Universal Zulu Nation." (wiki)

The artists you mention totally stick to the tropes I mentioned: they do a great deal of rapping about rapping. And there is either braggadocio or, its twin, rapping about being motivated and focused to eventually become someone great. You think the Roots don’t do this, seriously? To give one of innumerable examples, look at "The Fire", where Black Thought raps: "I never show signs of fatigue or turn tired / Cause I'm the definition of tragedy turned triumph / It's David and Goliath, I made it to the eye of the storm" Etc. etc. I just don’t want to constantly hear people talk about how great they are. Humility is a virtue.

Plus, I still consider Afrocentrism to be a representation of an American sociopolitical issue (namely black empowerment through reconnecting with a heritage they felt violently disconnected from).

What I would really like is hip-hop with lyrics as totally abstract or hermetic (but evocative and heartfelt) as e.g. Paul Celan, Scott Walker’s work on Climate of Hunter, or certain Bowie songs. Is it out there?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 12, 2018, 08:18:29 AM
What I would really like is hip-hop with lyrics as totally abstract or hermetic (but evocative and heartfelt) as e.g. Paul Celan, Scott Walker’s work on Climate of Hunter, or certain Bowie songs. Is it out there?

Do I read this right, David Bowie? You want rap to descend to the level of idiotic Bowie songs?   ;D
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 08:19:52 AM
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 12, 2018, 08:21:48 AM
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues . . . .

My bad, I forgot that example of high poetry.  :D

"I know when to go out, I know when to stay in, get things done."

Advice to live by.  8)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2018, 08:27:49 AM
The artists you mention totally stick to the tropes I mentioned: they do a great deal of rapping about rapping. And there is either braggadocio or, its twin, rapping about being motivated and focused to eventually become someone great. You think the Roots don’t do this, seriously? To give one of innumerable examples, look at "The Fire", where Black Thought raps: "I never show signs of fatigue or turn tired / Cause I'm the definition of tragedy turned triumph / It's David and Goliath, I made it to the eye of the storm" Etc. etc. I just don’t want to constantly hear people talk about how great they are. Humility is a virtue.

Plus, I still consider Afrocentrism to be a representation of an American sociopolitical issue (namely black empowerment through reconnecting with a heritage they felt violently disconnected from).

What I would really like is hip-hop with lyrics as totally abstract or hermetic (but evocative and heartfelt) as e.g. Paul Celan, Scott Walker’s work on Climate of Hunter, or certain Bowie songs. Is it out there?

You cite "rapping about being motivated and focused" as a negative?  I haven't listened to this music in a while, but as I remember it, Roots and Tribe Called Quest, and others among these groups, spin Afrocentrism with a positive message instead being primarily anti-White.  And D'Angelo doesn't do any of this, most of his songs are relationship oriented and lately narratives, which are very creative. 

What you don't even mention is the music.  There is so much more going on than most hip hop, it transcends the genre.

But it sounds like you are looking for hip hop without Blacks.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on June 12, 2018, 08:38:20 AM
Put on your red shoes and dance the blues . . . .

That part of Bowie’s career is widely seen as a lyrical nadir precisely because he had done better things elsewhere at other times. But I believe his lyrics on songs like "Heat" or "The Motel" or "Sons of the Silent Age" are strong, and they are the sort of thing I would like to find in hip-hop because I am not adverse to hip-hop as a musical form, only its lyrical tropes.

And San Antone’s accusation that I am looking for hip-hop without blacks is out of order. If I say I am looking for hip-hop without those tropes, then San Antone seems to be suggesting that African-American artists could only provide those tropes, and that strikes me as appallingly racist. There is no reason that African-Americans, too, could not turn their hand to more abstract or hermetic lyrics.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on June 12, 2018, 08:41:20 AM
The artists you mention totally stick to the tropes I mentioned: they do a great deal of rapping about rapping. And there is either braggadocio or, its twin, rapping about being motivated and focused to eventually become someone great. You think the Roots don’t do this, seriously? To give one of innumerable examples, look at "The Fire", where Black Thought raps: "I never show signs of fatigue or turn tired / Cause I'm the definition of tragedy turned triumph / It's David and Goliath, I made it to the eye of the storm" Etc. etc. I just don’t want to constantly hear people talk about how great they are. Humility is a virtue.

Plus, I still consider Afrocentrism to be a representation of an American sociopolitical issue (namely black empowerment through reconnecting with a heritage they felt violently disconnected from).

What I would really like is hip-hop with lyrics as totally abstract or hermetic (but evocative and heartfelt) as e.g. Paul Celan, Scott Walker’s work on Climate of Hunter, or certain Bowie songs. Is it out there?

Thankfully, it is the Wuorinen Thread that is being sullied with the mention of Lamar. Did this guy reallywin the Pulitzer? Well, I guess in an age where BarryO can get it fo' nuthin', then it is a fait acc... I was intrigued by this Lamar, and this song 'Humble', and I thought it was going to be some kind of meditation... lol,...

but, noooooooooooo...

LOL, issa da b**** das needs 2B humble, yo,...

yea, ok, ... as CRC says, tropi tropi tropi,... victim ... Lamar, what in all seriousness have YOU overcome?


CHAD- really,... this Lamar guy?


Even all the Blaxploitation Stars of the 70s agree that the 'Black Thing' was done by... 1973... by 1975 it over for us all anyway (Eagles First World Tour... 'The Omen' for real!!!!!)...


seriously...look at the 'Tall Israekli' who basically rules the hiphop world... NOTHING in BlackMusic&Entertainment gets passed the "movers and shakers of the entertainment industry"...


This is what Charley gets for Brokeback!! :laugh:


He shoulda done 'Ferguson'.... sorry Charley




SERIOUSLY PEOPLE, we're living in a POSTPost-Modern world in its 3rd or 7th wave,... even  GoodStuff suxx now... no reeeally good stuff is allowed, we have entered the Age of Global Social Policing.

WHY IS ANY OF THIS QUESTIONED, or taken seriously, or anything? ALL MEDIA is now compromised....

PUBLISHERS WILL START EDITING CHOPIN to make it eeeasier for the ModernStupid  to feel like they also get a participation trophy in history's long history of history.



oh dear, now what have I done? :-[

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 08:49:02 AM
My bad, I forgot that example of high poetry.  :D

"I know when to go out, I know when to stay in, get things done."

Advice to live by.  8)

That part of Bowie’s career is widely seen as a lyrical nadir precisely because he had done better things elsewhere at other times. But I believe his lyrics on songs like "Heat" or "The Motel" or "Sons of the Silent Age" are strong, and they are the sort of thing I would like to find in hip-hop because I am not adverse to hip-hop as a musical form, only its lyrical tropes.

And San Antone’s accusation that I am looking for hip-hop without blacks is out of order. If I say I am looking for hip-hop without those tropes, then San Antone seems to be suggesting that African-American artists could only provide those tropes, and that strikes me as appallingly racist. There is no reason that African-Americans, too, could not turn their hand to more abstract or hermetic lyrics.

Musically, I like Let’s Dance, part of that may be mere sentiment.

But this phrase got razzed pretty seriously by The Supreme Razzer, FZ:

http://www.youtube.com/v/oPsZZ2ZyIv8
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2018, 08:51:11 AM
And San Antone’s accusation that I am looking for hip-hop without blacks is out of order. If I say I am looking for hip-hop without those tropes, then San Antone seems to be suggesting that African-American artists could only provide those tropes, and that strikes me as appallingly racist. There is no reason that African-Americans, too, could not turn their hand to more abstract or hermetic lyrics.

And you ignored 99% my post where I described precisely how all these Black groups do not engage in the what you call "tropes", but address and express issues relevant to the Black community, and not in a cookie-cutter manner.  The stylistic aspects you wish for, "lyrics as totally abstract or hermetic," are not as important to them as to the three White artists you named.

 ;)

Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 09:07:31 AM
Separately, and (well) on topic . . .

This morning, the concierge downstairs told me that he listened to this, and likes it a lot.  There should be more guitar literature like this, he opined.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Y_6LvnlZlTM
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on June 12, 2018, 09:14:45 AM
And you ignored 99% my post where I described precisely how all these Black groups do not engage in the what you call "tropes" in a cookie-cutter manner.

It does not matter if they don’t engage those themes in a cookie-cutter manner. You think I should be satisfied even if those artists approach those tropes in a fresh or distinct manner, but what I would really like to find is hip-hop that does not deal with those themes at all.

And it is in no way racist or anti-Black to search for music that avoids those themes. Just like it isn’t some kind of hatred against white demographics when I prefer to avoid, in the same fashion, rock or country music songs that make references to dancing or man-woman relationships that I feel I have heard enough already.

Or just like how it isn’t anti-German when I really don’t like the sung texts of most 19th-century lieder because of the concerns of Romantic-era poetry. I am just looking for something different. For me, what saved classical music with voice is the fact that in the 20th century, there were composers taking up modernist poets with different concerns.

Similarly, I feel like I could really get into hip-hop if the rapped text on top of its production were different than what I have been finding. (Of course, the production would have to be strong, too.) But it is very discouraging to search when I am attacked straightaway as racist as San Antone did.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 12, 2018, 09:22:31 AM
It does not matter if they don’t engage those themes in a cookie-cutter manner. You think I should be satisfied even if those artists approach those tropes in a fresh or distinct manner, but what I would really like to find is hip-hop that does not deal with those themes at all. Ever.

And it is in no way racist or anti-Black to search for music that avoids those themes. Just like it isn’t some kind of hatred against white demographics when I prefer to avoid, in the same fashion, rock or country music songs that make references to dancing or man-woman relationships that I feel I have heard enough already.

Or just like how it isn’t anti-German when I really don’t like the sung texts of most 19th-century lieder because of the concerns of Romantic-era poetry. I am just looking for something different. For me, what saved classical music with voice is the fact that in the 20th century, there were composers taking up modernist poets with different concerns.

Similarly, I feel like I could really get into hip-hop if the rapped text on top of its production were different than what I have been finding. (Of course, the production would have to be strong, too.) But it is very discouraging to search when I am attacked straightaway as racist as San Antone did.

I didn't call you a racist, I just pointed out that what you are looking for probably doesn't exist in hip-hop by any Black artist I've heard.  The  music was born from the streets and the streets in Black neighborhoods are not abstract or hermetic.

4hero is a UK group that includes elements of hip-hop along with other styles like nu-jazz, and their lyrics are more ephemeral.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on June 12, 2018, 09:29:19 AM
The music was born from the streets and the streets in Black neighborhoods are not abstract or hermetic.

Rock music was originally born from teenage rebellion etc., but by the late 1960s it had been developed both musically and lyrically in ways that were often foreign to that original context and demographic. The same is true mutatis mutandis for various other genres like jazz. Similarly, I see no reason why there cannot be some hip-hop artists out there, whether African-American or not, who have completely removed the "streets" context from their rapping.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 12, 2018, 11:07:32 PM
Classical music 'should learn from hip hop'

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-44444246
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 12, 2018, 11:45:23 PM
You know, I never trust the modal verb "should" when applied to Art.  That's pusher talk.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 13, 2018, 06:01:17 AM
Classical music 'should learn from hip hop'

https://www.bbc.com/news/entertainment-arts-44444246

That's nothing.  A New York music education teacher named Ethan Hein thinks that classical music is dead (or at least on life support), and its best chance at any form of survival is to be subsumed into popular music in the form of samples.

http://www.ethanhein.com/wp/2018/the-orchestra-hit-as-a-possible-future-for-classical-music/
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 13, 2018, 06:21:53 AM
These articles about the demise of classical music are based on a flawed premise, imo.  The journalists who wrote them are under the illusion that music is a commodity, and classical music cannot compete with pop and other forms of commercial music. 

But the music world is not a zero sum game.

Classical music will enjoy an audience as long as there are music schools. 
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 13, 2018, 07:20:20 AM
These articles about the demise of classical music are based on a flawed premise, imo.  The journalists who wrote them are under the illusion that music is a commodity, and classical music cannot compete with pop and other forms of commercial music. 

But the music world is not a zero sum game.

Classical music will enjoy an audience as long as there are music schools. 

Perfectly true.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: arpeggio on June 13, 2018, 08:17:47 AM
A problem that I have with the classical music is dead crowd is that it seems that most of them are American.  They may be correct concerning the status of classical music in the United States.  But I rarely hear a non-American claim that classical music is dying.  Maybe some of out non-American friends can clarify that status of classical music in their countries.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver on June 13, 2018, 08:39:45 AM
Classical music will enjoy an audience as long as there are music schools.

While that may be true of chamber music or solo pieces, it is hard to see live performances of orchestral repertoire surviving in places where the state or private patronage ceases to fund orchestras. They are entirely dependent on subsidy.

One sees some contemporary composers anticipating this by claiming that the orchestra’s time is past, and that their career and longevity would be better served by not writing for such expensive forces.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 13, 2018, 08:47:15 AM
Classical music will enjoy an audience as long as there are music schools.

And how long will that be?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Baron Scarpia on June 13, 2018, 08:50:52 AM
While that may be true of chamber music or solo pieces, it is hard to see live performances of orchestral repertoire surviving in places where the state or private patronage ceases to fund orchestras. They are entirely dependent on subsidy.

The European model was and continues to be state sponsorship. In the U.S., it was corporate sponsorship. But now that big firms are invariably "global" the quaint idea of "corporate citizenship" has fallen by the wayside. Big corporations no longer see a need to contribute to the livability of their corporate location. The tide goes the other way, they expect tax breaks and other bribes or they threaten to leave.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 13, 2018, 09:05:58 AM
While that may be true of chamber music or solo pieces, it is hard to see live performances of orchestral repertoire surviving in places where the state or private patronage ceases to fund orchestras. They are entirely dependent on subsidy.

One sees some contemporary composers anticipating this by claiming that the orchestra’s time is past, and that their career and longevity would be better served by not writing for such expensive forces.

The major US orchestras, probably, will always devote a sliver of their annual programming to living composers.

But (speaking as someone who wrote his first Symphony last year) it is a considerable challenge, trying to pitch a piece by a living composer, with a less-than-first-tier orchestra.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone on June 13, 2018, 09:12:48 AM
And how long will that be?

I suspect a long time.  Unless N. Korea nukes us out of existence.  Then none of this will matter.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on June 13, 2018, 12:58:43 PM
Separately, and (well) on topic . . .

This morning, the concierge downstairs told me that he listened to this, and likes it a lot.  There should be more guitar literature like this, he opined.

http://www.youtube.com/v/Y_6LvnlZlTM

That was truly awful. I've been booed for much less!!

Modern Composers still, it seems, have absolutely no idea what to do with the ELECTRIC guitar. I heard nothing there that couldn't have been played by acoustic guitars,... what was the point of it needing to be four electrics? Why is it that the electric is almost always treated in its absolutely plainest incarnation? And, yes,... no,... I don't want to hear any Polansky or Wolff, thank you.

aye, that really made me mad.... talk about "avant garde electric guitar tropes",... lol

Rock music was originally born from teenage rebellion etc., but by the late 1960s it had been developed both musically and lyrically in ways that were often foreign to that original context and demographic. The same is true mutatis mutandis for various other genres like jazz. Similarly, I see no reason why there cannot be some hip-hop artists out there, whether African-American or not, who have completely removed the "streets" context from their rapping.

sorry, but "street cred" is ALL there is...


btw- you do know that the 5% believe that Mozart was Black, and all that goes with it (whites stole classical from blacks like mozart... yes, it's an actual thing... just go to Yahoo and Search "American Inventors" and see what pops up)...

My whole point was that the MEANS to make most music are now in the hands of a centralized mega-industry run by themovers and shakers... who LET Lamar make his record.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 14, 2018, 12:02:38 AM
That was truly awful. I've been booed for much less!!

I think Charles can live with the fact that not everybody likes this or that piece of his.

And . . . you’ve been booed?  Why, I’ll never believe it . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 14, 2018, 03:57:05 AM
That was truly awful. I've been booed for much less!!

Modern Composers still, it seems, have absolutely no idea what to do with the ELECTRIC guitar. I heard nothing there that couldn't have been played by acoustic guitars,... what was the point of it needing to be four electrics? Why is it that the electric is almost always treated in its absolutely plainest incarnation? And, yes,... no,... I don't want to hear any Polansky or Wolff, thank you.

aye, that really made me mad.... talk about "avant garde electric guitar tropes",... lol

Kokoras is one of my favourite composers working with electronics. See what you think of this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/z3hYmvd2Fqs

And also this piece for a completely different take:

https://www.youtube.com/v/IwHXDmypUCw
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 14, 2018, 04:19:24 AM
Jessop, what do you think of the Wuorinen piece?
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 14, 2018, 05:21:07 AM
Jessop, what do you think of the Wuorinen piece?

It's quite nice! It reminds me of 1930s Schoenberg a bit, and maybe some late Stravinsky, but with a much more introspective character, I think. Sure, it doesn't utilise the instruments as much more than a means of producing pitch and rhythm, but he treats the instruments in exactly the way they would be best suited for what Wuorinen is interested composing.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on June 14, 2018, 06:42:01 AM
Kokoras is one of my favourite composers working with electronics. See what you think of this:

https://www.youtube.com/v/z3hYmvd2Fqs

And also this piece for a completely different take:

https://www.youtube.com/v/IwHXDmypUCw

Yea, the first one was cute and bubbly. The Dougherty was a little droney. I still think a lot of my criticisms apply to these two pieces. Maybe it's because I'm hearing Chopin/Debussy/Satie right now that I'm noticing that all this "literature" is ... sorry... appallingly Unattractive. I mean, I can personally entertain myself in this fashion when I'm Playing, but I would never Listen to this, and, ... wow, ... I feel like I can't even take it seriously. It just seems like this rep is light years behind the more traditional instruments, and I'm chalking this up to a lack of imagination of the Composers' part. Say what you will  Van Halen stealing Bach licks, but, why couldn't that be seen as a start?

As with the "street cred" thing with the BlackMusic, GuitarMusic, as it stands TODAY has its own set of ... requirements,... and, Classically speaking, I feel that everyone from Branca to... now Wuorinen, are only strengthening the argument that the ElectricGuitar should be kept in check when manhandled by such outliers as... even Dougherty appears to be at this time.


When you said that the Wuorinen piece sounded like Schoenberg, I think that's the clue there, -


'Twilight Zone' theme may be ElectricGuitar's greatest ClassicalMoment?...



Fact is, EG has quite a doleful sound to it,... using it makes one's ClassicalPiece sound more depressing that it need be...

AND THE FACT THAT NOT ONE CLASSICAL EG PIECE I'VE HEARD UTILIZES ONE OUNCE OF OLD FASHIONED VIRTUOSITY...can any of these types of players even improvise,... (again, CRC, without "guitar" tropes?)...

Is this what "guitar without tropes" sounds like?? ...pass the Gatton, please



BTW- seems there is a lot of Composing for "Foot Pedal", rather than actually Composing for GUITAR.


GUITARISTS!!!!! STAY OUT OF THE CONSERVATORIES!!!!!!!!FOR YOUR VERY CREATIVE LIVES!!!!!!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 14, 2018, 07:35:10 AM
Even though this can bring snypsss only pain . . .

http://www.youtube.com/v/iZoUm0ow9zY
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on June 14, 2018, 12:52:32 PM
Even though this can bring snypsss only pain . . .

http://www.youtube.com/v/iZoUm0ow9zY
[/quote

See? This is what I mean. Charley's writing music from 1939,... in 1972!!

I mean, you know, I enjoy my five odd Koch discs from time to time,... CW fits squarely into the UPTOWN crowd,... but, do we STILL need to be writing the music of our teachers? (Roger Sessions)...

If you maaade me, I'd say my favorite Work by CW is the String Quartet No.2,

'Maaandy,... you came and you gave without takin...'
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ComposerOfAvantGarde on June 15, 2018, 10:53:42 PM
Yeah but Wuorinen's music can sound old-hat if he wants it to. I don't have a problem with it. He may be a a very conservative composer, but his musical style is still quite inventive to me.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 16, 2018, 05:29:52 AM
Yeah but Wuorinen's music can sound old-hat if he wants it to. I don't have a problem with it. He may be a a very conservative composer, but his musical style is still quite inventive to me.

Agreed with the above, but I don't think Snyprrr is correct in hearing Wuorinen's music as an extension of Sessions'.  It draws on late Stravinsky and Babbitt far more than Sessions, and rhythmically it's very different than anything written in the 1930s.  It's kind of like accusing Brahms of re-writing Beethoven in the 1880s because his music doesn't have the outwardly progressive character of Liszt's or Wagner's.  To me, Wuorinen doesn't really sound any more similar to Sessions or Schoenberg than Brahms does to Beethoven or Schubert.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 16, 2018, 07:10:33 AM
'Maaandy,... you came and you gave without takin...'

Thanks for reminding us all that easy scorn is no substitute for an argument.

And for the reminder, too, that there is practically nothing more supremely lame, than when one's contribution to a thread about a given composer is to repeat, again and again, But, I don't really like N. . . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 16, 2018, 09:16:02 AM
Wuorinen's music, especially his late works, displays a masterful and rigorous command of his chosen language while at the same time writing music that contains an, for lack of a better phrase, emotional core.  I know that music is not emotional but I don't know how to say it any other way.

New music hardly gets any better than what he has accomplished.

The music has a character, a voice, which is his own, and is superbly made.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on June 16, 2018, 10:11:39 AM
Thanks for reminding us all that easy scorn is no substitute for an argument.

And for the reminder, too, that there is practically nothing more supremely lame, than when one's contribution to a thread about a given composer is to repeat, again and again, But, I don't really like N. . . . .

My "" was that CW was writing Schoenberg Music for 4 Guitars (or Babbitt Music), which everyone seems to agree with. I dunno, I readily admit his technique,...

Maybe I'm just saying he's not innovative,... hasn't been able to change his style over the decades (hey, like you said, it's his 'bag', and he gets to do it to his heart's content ebcause he's successfully established himself, yay)... you're agreeing that he's now an absolute Conservative... the new D'Indy!?!?!,...


I mean, what happened to Brokeback????,... where is the Warners plush Edition??,...isn't this what the rage is, so, what happened? Did the Consumer exercise their discretion?


I mean,who was writing Conservative music in 1918? And who cares now? Similarly, when SchoenbergMusic is considered Conservative in 2018, well, is it a surprise no one cares? The Conservative Music of 1918 was a whole lot more tuneful than its contemporary counterpart.

What? Is CW bold and daring cuz he's the ONLY one currently writing in this style (what, are we back to Rochberg in 1975?)?  So, Lamar wins the Pulitzer, and not CW...


As for the "I don't like" comment, well, I'm almost guessing that was from the snyprrr/MirrorImage back and forth in the Debussy Thread. Well,fact is I still push myself to "like" things I really don't care for. I see you overlooked when I said String Quartet No.2 would be my fav CW- why this piece? No, I didn't hear that...

Just listen to the piece and you should understand - it's one of his clearest utterances, succinct, comes and goes in proper time,... it's just Obvious , its mastery,...


I mean, lol, I prefer CW to Wolpe, oy vey!!!




I've been listening to Sokolov's Preludes during this whole writing, and even they are getting on my nerves,... all this Piano Banging!!!!!!!



CW has written ENOUGH to where criticizing him should simply be de rigoure
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: snyprrr on June 17, 2018, 07:11:55 AM
btw- 'Mandy' wasn't a swipe at CW. I just can't get that melody out of my head! :-\

And, maybe 'Mandy' was brought up because someone else brought PopMusic into the discussion first: I countered Lamar's 'Humble' with 'Mandy'. Frankly, I think 'Mandy' wins.

Now, the question is, does 'Mandy' beat CW? This is just an afterthought and is by no mean meant as a troll- seriously- can 'Mandy' get looped into your brain to the point of not letting any CW in, no matter how hard you concentrate? Would you be able to hear CW in your head without 'Mandy' breaking in at the worst moment?


Personally, I use 'Karma Chameleon' as a 'trope eraser', when I get some unpleasant music stuck in my head. And, thankfully, once it's done its job, it too vanishes from my mind until it is again needed.



I mean, what's not to love about that 'Feinberg' Sonata? You got me all wrong, Karl 0:) :-*
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian on June 18, 2018, 06:33:14 AM
I mean, what happened to Brokeback????,... where is the Warners plush Edition??,...isn't this what the rage is, so, what happened? Did the Consumer exercise their discretion?

It was brought out on DVD/Blu-Ray:



And it was recently performed in NY in a version reduced for chamber orchestra.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 18, 2018, 07:16:34 AM
It was brought out on DVD/Blu-Ray:



And it was recently performed in NY in a version reduced for chamber orchestra.

Terrific, thanks!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Archaic Torso of Apollo on June 19, 2018, 09:59:35 AM
Just stumbled on this thread.

+1

Wuorinen's ideas about low culture appear to me to reflect the driving force behind Colonialism:  Missionaries attempting to replace "primitive" native religions with Christianity; Europeans invading the Americas and enslaving, exploiting and perpetrating cultural genocide on native peoples all across the globe.

The assumption is always that European culture is superior to whatever exists elsewhere. 

For sure what Wuroinen is expressing is a far less dangerous variety than anything like the crimes against humanity performed by Colonial overlords - but the mindset strikes me as  similar and just as distasteful.  Wuorinen simply assumes his music, his taste, is superior and naturally should not lose ground to what he sees as "lower" forms of music.

The irony is that his opera about two cowboys (low culture) is his own act of cultural colonialism as he exploits the story of two representatives of a society in which his music would hardly be understood.

I just gotta say - I find it hilarious that this post was written by a self-declared Trump supporter. I expect this sort of rhetoric from a junior prof of Post-Colonial Studies at some no-name college.

(Note: no particular criticism intended here. People are complicated, and that's what makes them interesting. Sorry to derail.)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 20, 2018, 12:07:37 AM
Would you be able to hear CW in your head without 'Mandy' breaking in at the worst moment?

I have never suffered the least difficulty in that regard.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on June 28, 2018, 09:39:53 AM
It was brought out on DVD/Blu-Ray:



And it was recently performed in NY in a version reduced for chamber orchestra.

Okay, my disc has landed . . . may be a few days before I can sit and watch it.

G P Padillo's review at Amazon was a heartwarming read.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 14, 2018, 12:18:40 PM
It was brought out on DVD/Blu-Ray:



This is magnificent. Yes, I come to this as a former student, so I am already inclined to like it. Mightily impressed, I find it an even stronger, even more beautiful work than I expected. It will be nearly a contemporary music tragedy, if this does not get performed more.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter on July 14, 2018, 12:59:36 PM
This is magnificent. Yes, I come to this as a former student, so I am already inclined to like it. Mightily impressed, I find it an even stronger, even more beautiful work than I expected. It will be nearly a contemporary music tragedy, if this does not get performed more.
I was there ....  :)
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng on July 14, 2018, 01:21:04 PM
I remember!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: vers la flamme on September 29, 2019, 09:33:26 AM
(https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/81kkYUJ8fKL._SL1405_.jpg)

Recently I happened upon this CD at a local record store, and I went for it for the Boulez, and because it was only $3 or something like that. I'm just now getting around to hearing the Wuorinen sonata, which was actually written for this pianist. 32 minutes of hardcore, 12-tone serialist piano music in one movement may seem like a daunting task to get through, and that's probably not an unfair assessment. But this is really kind of beautiful stuff I think. Not terribly far removed from the sound world of Boulez's deuxième sonate, but not as harsh, with a kind of weirdly lush beauty to it all. Maybe I'm just getting so used to the world of 12-tone music that nothing will phase me or strike me as harsh? I don't know. The playing is excellent, if nothing else.

Anyway, my interest in this composer is piqued (and in the pianist). I'm going to seek out the String Sextet mentioned in the OP. I listened to some of Time's Encomium at one point, it's not for me I think, or at least not yet. I don't always get on with the music of the American "ultramodernists" but Wuorinen appears to be one of the good ones. Interesting stuff.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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!
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Herman 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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: ritter 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.  :(
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone 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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Herman on March 13, 2020, 11:17:17 AM
I'm sad for you, Karl.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: vers la flamme 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:

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81ZhRGnLGrL._SS500_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Crudblud 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 (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tnuC5o_Iwn0).
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: schnittkease 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...
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: CRCulver 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:

(https://m.media-amazon.com/images/I/81ZhRGnLGrL._SS500_.jpg)

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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: San Antone 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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: k a rl h e nn i ng 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 . . .
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: vers la flamme 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.
Title: Re: Wuorinen's Whirlygig
Post by: Mahlerian 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.

https://www.youtube.com/v/3SMR5WIgSUg

https://www.youtube.com/v/L4p0TfJ1R6o