New & Notable Classical Albums

edited March 2019 in Classical
  1. I thought that maybe there's basis for such a thread. What probably mostly will be coming from me is from the Contemporary classical music field. - But as I see it, there is no limits to what could be posted here.
    - Anyway, let's see how this works out. . . .

    - Icelandic-born composer Jóhann Jóhannsson’s debut album for FatCat’s 130701 imprint, ‘The Miners’ Hymns’ is a brand new film score from a hugely exciting collaborative project based around the weighty subject matter of the ill-fated mining community in North East England."
    - Fat Cat Records.

    About the film:
    - “The Miners’ Hymns” is a collaboration between American filmmaker Bill Morrison and Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson who, with images and music, have created a wordless documentary to depict the ill-fated mining community in North East England.

    Created from BFI, BBC and other archival footage, “The Miners Hymns” celebrates social, cultural, and political aspects of the extinct industry, and the strong regional tradition of colliery brass bands.

    Focusing on the Durham coalfield in the North East of the UK, the film is structured around a series of activities including the hardship of pit work, the role of Trade Unions in organizing and fighting for workers’ rights, the annual Miners’ Gala in Durham, and the pitched battles with police during the 1984 strike as Thatcher’s government sounded the death knell for the industry.

    The film cuts between footage from different eras spanning 100 years – from grainy footage of primitive conditions from early last century, through processes of increased mechanization, and up to the highly emotive era of the miner’s strikes of the mid-1980s. While almost entirely composed of black and white archival footage, the film also includes two contemporary sequences shot in color from a helicopter hovering over the sites of former collieries. It is at once poignant and ironic to note that these sites have now been rendered invisible and have been replaced by temples of modern leisure and consumerism. The film is a timely reminder of choices that were made a generation ago regarding the role of labor in a corporate-based economy – the repercussions of which are being felt today."



  • edited August 2018
    - Brand new from Bang on a Can member Evan Ziporyn:

    - "Following the critically acclaimed Frog's Eye, Big Grenadilla/Mumbai marks the second Cantaloupe Music collaboration between composer/clarinetist Evan Ziporyn and Gil Rose's Boston Modern Orchestra Project (BMOP). It is also the second time that Evan has teamed up with world-renowned tabla player Sandeep Das - a member of the Silk Road Ensemble - thus forging together a non-western master musician with a premiere western orchestra.

    Founder and longtime member of of the Bang on a Can All-Stars and founder of the Gamelan Galak Tika, Evan Ziporyn creates music at the crossroads of genre and culture. Having avoided the standard classical orchestra for most of his career, Evan came around to viewing the western orchestra as a world music ensemble - a reliquary of folk instruments and practices, rebuilt and retuned to play together; something that was constantly evolving - and he wanted to be a part of the evolution, to bring more outside elements in. An album that could have been titled "Outsider Concertos", Big Grenadilla and Mumbai have done just that: two works written for orchestra featuring non-orchestral instruments.

    Commissioned and premiered by the American Composers Orchestra in 2006, Big Grenadilla features Evan Ziporyn on bass clarinet and is named for the wood from which clarinets are made and the "big" orchestra, magnifying and framing. Wanting to highlight and amplify what he likes to do best on his instrument, Evan calls the piece "an attempt at ancestor worship, on two levels: the instrument dreams of its living, rooted reality, with the orchestra playing the role of its environs."

    A concerto for tabla - Indian hand drums - and string orchestra, Mumbai is a memorial to and meditation on the terrorist bombings in that city in 2008. Soloist Sandeep Das is given "complete freedom and no freedom" - the underlying rhythmic structure of the tabla is intricate and inflexible, but the nuances and specifics of his solo part are up him. He is backed up by a full percussion section, which implores a mixture of rhythms and applications of percussive textures and both are set against the harmonically resonant body of a string orchestra. Mumbai was commissioned by BMOP and premiered on May 27, 2011."

    - Cantaloupe Music -

  • edited May 2017

    1. - "Conceptually unifying Eucalyptus, the new album by composer David Crowell, is its focus on music for multiples of the same instrument. Textural similarity coincides with the ideal of egoless composition, no voice more or less important than another, all combining to form a greater whole. Yet each piece on this record has its own character and personal significance.

      The title track, Eucalyptus, begins with a long look at the fundamental law of all sound, the overtone series. As the ear perceives hidden tones inside each saxophone note, pulsating and surrounding the fundamental, the simple chord becomes more interesting, complex and hypnotic. Subtle electronic manipulation illuminates and further unlocks the notes above the notes. Meanwhile, fast lines accumulate, flying above the waves like a flock of singing geese. . . . ."

      - More @ Innova Recordings
      - Streaming of track 2 @ I Care If You Listen.
      - Streaming of track 3 @ Bandcamp.

      image * image > > >
      New York City-based composer and instrumentalist DAVID CROWELL:
      - "Brings a “singular vision that transcends genre” (Exclaim!) to diverse forms of composed and improvisational music.

      David’s chamber works have been performed at the Tribeca New Music Festival, the MATA Festival, Festival Internacional Chihuahua, the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival, ClefWorks Music Festival, the Everson Museum of Art, the Eastman School of Music, University of North Texas, California State University, University of Montana, Tennessee Tech, University of Kentucky, and Brooklyn College by groups such as the JACK Quartet, the NOW Ensemble, Syracuse Symphony Quartet, Redshift Ensemble, and the University of Kentucky Percussion Society. In New York City, his work has been featured at Merkin Hall, Le Poisson Rouge, the Stone, Barbes, Gallerie Icosahedron, Tonic, Galapagos Art Space, the Knitting Factory, Joe’s Pub and the Tank. As a composer, David has received recognition and support from ASCAP, Innova Recordings, the New York State Music Fund, Bang-on-a Can, MATA, Society for New Music, and ClefWorks.

      As a woodwinds performer, David tours internationally as a member of the Philip Glass Ensemble (since 2007) and has also performed with the L.A. Philharmonic, the L.A. Master Chorale, the Bergen Philharmonic Orchestra, Signal Ensemble, Argento Ensemble, L’Arsenale, at the Bang on a Can Marathon and the Bang on a Can Summer Music Festival. David has recorded with the Philip Glass Ensemble, Signal Ensemble, Shakira featuring Wyclef Jean (Epic), Ken Thomson, and Anti-Social Music. He is working on a collaborative CD with performance artist, Paul Amlehn, whose sound art exhibitions have shown at numerous museums in collaboration with musicians such as Robert Fripp and Joan Jeanrenaud.

      His piece, “Waiting in the Rain for Snow” has been recorded by the NOW Ensemble, and was released by New Amsterdam on NOW Ensemble’s sophomore release, Awake, in 2011. The piece was reviewed by Jeffrey Edelstein of Crane Arts Center as “a splash of jazzy joy; minimalist-inflected motifs buoyed by interchanging rhythms, absorbing crescendos, and abrupt dynamics,” “slow burning of intensity” (New Haven Advocate) and “appropriately liquescent” (Classical Review). The album itself has received much praise and was lauded by NPR, allowing it to reach #2 on the Amazon Classical Music charts. Crowell is also a performer on William Brittelle’s album Television Landscape.

      A graduate of the Eastman School of Music, David has studied composition with Michael Gordon, David Lang, Julia Wolfe, Paul Caputo and Jonathan Dawe; woodwinds with Andrew Sterman; and improvisation with Ralph Alessi, Don Byron, Peter Epstein, Steve Coleman and Ravi Coltrane through New York’s School for Improvisational Music."

      - New Amsterdam Records.
  • edited May 2017
    I was a bit uncertain wether to post this here or @ the other N&N thread, but decided that this IS the right place.
    IMO a truely unique album by a composer, previously unknown to me, and not quite as weird as the clips may suggest:

    Ákos Rózmann - 12 stationer VI

    Ákos Rózmann (1939-2005)
    - Studied at the Bártók conservatory in Budapest and took diplomas in both composition and organ playing at the Liszt Academy. In 1971 he was given a scholarship to study electronic music in Stockholm. His encounter with the electronic tools was a revolutionary experience for him and was to give a whole new direction to his work. Soon he abandoned composition for acoustic instruments and was later to claim that instrumental music "had no future". For several years he earned his living as an organist at St. Eric’s Catholic Cathedral in Stockholm, often using recordings of organ sounds made in the dead of the night as a source for his electronic works. Rózmann often preferred monumental forms and several of his most prominent works, such as 12 stationer (12 stations) and Mässa (Mass), grew side by side over a long period of time. With a few rare exceptions, the conflict between good and evil was the basic theme in his works. The fight went on continuously in arenas and within power relations that would suddenly change. In Rózmann’s imagined world, no room was given to chance. Big powers, luminous or dark, would lie behind the most trivial everyday events.

    A large portion of Tibetan Buddhism gradually infiltrated his Catholic Weltanschauung, and 12 stationer (12 stations), composed between 1978 and 2001, is a musical interpretation of the Tibetan Wheel of Life. The last part of the 12 stations, “old age and death”, is called “the celebrators” in Rózmann’s version (completed in 2001). When asked what sort of celebration he meant he replied: “the merriment you hear is false, it is not genuine, it is empty”. Dörr med tårar (Door with tears) from 1988-89 is unmistakeably an homage to Pierre Henry and the title alludes to "Variations for a door and a sigh". During one of my last encounters with Rózmann he told me in depth about how Henry’s influence was significant in leading him to choose electronic music. He regarded Le Voyage from the Tibetan Book of the Dead to be the most important pioneering piece in the history of electronic music.

    Ákos Rózmann showed particular devotion to his work during more than thirty active years. During his lifetime he never sought, nor did he win any mentionable recognition. As a true modernist, he didn’t compose with an audience or the critics in mind. His mission was to compose for the future. It was his conviction that the mystical energy for compositional work should derive straight from God.

    It is a truly great thing to witness the publication of this album."

    Mats Lindström @ Editions Mego
    Stockholm February 2012

    ETA: Preview in bits @ Bleep.
  • edited March 2019

    - "Jonny Greenwood, Britain's foremost exponent of art-rock, has long acknowledged his debt to the Polish avant-garde master Krzysztof Penderecki. This collaboration is the fruit of a concert in Poland last year. Penderecki's Threnody (1960) still has the power to shock, while Greenwood's Popcorn Superhet Receiver (2005) is already a modern classic. His 48 Responses is as surprising as it is original, taking the one brief moment of tonality in Penderecki's Polymorphia and developing it into a Bach-like chorale that morphs and splinters into a series of brief, hallucinatory movements."
    - Stephen Pritchard @ The Guardian.
  • edited April 2012
    A good handfull of John Cage albums from the freshly ripped on Emusic:

    155x155.jpg 155x155.jpg 155x155.jpg
    155x155.jpg 155x155.jpg 155x155.jpg

    - From a label called OgreOgress Productions
  • edited May 2017
    - For the experimental / avantgarde (jazz) inclined:

    Kyle Bruckmann, oboe
    Jen Clare Paulson, viola
    Jason Stein, bass clarinet
    Anton Hatwich, contrabass
    Timothy Daisy, percussion)
    Rova Saxophone Quartet (Bruce Ackley, Larry Ochs, Jon Raskin, and Steve Adams)
    Gino Robair, Tim Perkis, live electronics
    Matt Ingalls, bass clarinet
    John Ingle, alto saxophone
    Gino Robair, prepared piano
    Benjamin Kreith, violin
    Tara Flandreau, viola
    Monica Scott, cello
    Kjell Nordesen, percussion; with electronics

    - "In his compositions, composer/performer Kyle Bruckmann (b. 1971) seeks to integrate rigor and internal logic with raw immediacy while fully engaging his fellow performers as not simply dutiful interpreters, but creatively invested collaborators. Aesthetically, the results evoke much from European modernism, but realized via idiosyncratic modular forms and process-oriented strategies equally indebted to the New York School and the jazz avant-garde.
    On Procedural Grounds (2010) is a half-hour work conceived as the framework for a summit between his current Bay Area community and that of Chicago, his former home. The eleven-piece ensemble features his long-standing project Wrack together with boundary-defying West Coast pioneers Rova, Tim Perkis (of the League of Automatic Music Composers and the Hub) and Gino Robair. Orgone Accelerator (2010) was composed for 8-channel sound diffusion, and premiered at the 2011 San Francisco Tape Music Festival. The other two pieces are products of the unique creative environment of sfSound (the collective with which Bruckmann has performed the works of such composers as Braxton, Cardew, Feldman, Ferneyhough, Ligeti, Subotnick and Xenakis) and feature members of that ensemble. Cell Structure (2009) is a duet written for the composer on oboe and Matt Ingalls on clarinet, with an electronic accompaniment realized through modular analog synthesis. Tarpit (2009) is scored for an octet of winds, strings, and percussion with similarly pre-recorded electronics."

    New World Records -
    - (not this one)

    - A huge WOW from first listening . . .
  • edited April 2012
    bn, time to brag a bit, concerning the Kyle Bruckmann release - quoting from the liners:
    1993, Houston TX. ... Enter Creative Music, Bay Area style. The station’s General Manager
    and Jazz Director have the audacious idea to blow our entire budget for the year hosting a two-day
    festival featuring Rova and the Splatter Trio (VK adds: and Tim Berne/Hank Roberts and Boston's Debris).
    Gino and Myles walk through one of the very first rehearsals of my
    preposterous noise-rock band Lozenge. I interview Rova on the air; in a fit of exasperated befuddlement
    betraying my conservatory damage, I ask “so, wait, is your music composed or not?” Later that evening,
    in the same recital hall where I’d dozed through countless classmates’ Brahms, I’m punched square in the
    face with a conclusion so obvious in retrospect it’s almost pathetic: this music is being composed before
    my eyes, between my ears, by fully engaged, empowered artists. This music is vital, legit, alive; it speaks
    to me, it matters, and maybe I could—no, have to—actually play it myself. On the oboe, even.
    ("On Procedural Grounds") is dedicated to Heidi Bullinga and
    Vince Kargatis, who flapped some butterfly wings nearly two decades ago, without which it is
    exceedingly unlikely that this whole darn CD ever would have happened.
    You can read a bit about that festival in Signal To Noise's feature article on KTRU, go to page 26, start towards the end of the middle column. I'm in the group pic on page 27 at the upper right. Good times.
  • edited May 2017
    1. Heh ! - great story. - thanks for bragging . . .
      - There's three guys in the upper right, are you the one who's not looking into the camera ?
      I guess "flapping butterfly wings" means something like "making a big fuzz" ?
      In any event it certainly has caused some excellent music.

      - Back to the news . . .

      Julia Rovinsky's second solo harp album features her versions to pieces by Harold Budd, Philip Glass, Munir Bashir, Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich. None of these pieces was originally written for a harp.

      Julia Rovinsky
      - "Born in St. Petersburg (formerly Leningrad), Julia graduated from the Rimski-Korsakov Academy of Music and in 1988 she won the national harp competition in Moscow. She was harpist with the Philharmonic Orchestra of Leningrad and appeared as a soloist throughout Russia. Since moving to Israel, Julia has become a central figure on Israel's concert scene and appears regularly as soloist and in many chamber music ensembles. Since 2003 she is the Principal Harpist of the Israel Philharmonic Orchestra."
      - - Bandcamp
  • edited April 2012
    No, I'm in the very top right, standing/hanging above the others.
    I guess "flapping butterfly wings" means something like "making a big fuzz" ?
    Not sure what "making a big fuzz" means :), but "flapped some butterfly wings" refers to setting events in motion that have unintended and unpredictable consequences, cf. the butterfly effect.
  • edited May 2017
    1. image
      Frances White - In the Library of Dreams
      - "Frances White invites us to take a walk through her Resonant Landscape. Where are we going? We are walking through the woods, marshes, and streams of New Jersey. She points out the birds and frogs that make their home there, the water that flows through it and the wind that shakes the trees. But then we turn and there is that other sound world, the one in which these woodland sounds are transformed, or in which we find sounds altogether new: spectral birds singing to us through a sparkly haze; distant colored winds, like the breath of giants; the air around us, alive, charged with long, low drones and sudden electric crashes.

      There is something magical about this other world, and (like most magic) there is something disturbing here as well. We move between the two worlds almost at random, bumping into one sound after another. We find ourselves rising off the path and floating, then falling abruptly into silence, reappearing in a marsh full of geese and blackbirds. This is more than a sonic postcard from Princeton: it is a journey into the inner world of Frances White. We could call it an electroacoustic dream drawn from her memories of hikes in the woods. As in a dream, real experience is placed in a surreal context, a play of inner and outer. We fill in the gaps, supplying connections among the random fragments of reality, memory, and imagination.

      This gets to the heart of White's music. She has made a body of work in which she takes the real, brings it into her being, transforms it there, and then brings it out again in her compositions. Technically, she works by using the computer to manipulate recorded sounds and to synthesize wholly new ones. She mixes her timbres by hand as a painter would mix colors, and she applies them lovingly and painstakingly to her canvas of silence. But the power of her work comes from her ability to take listeners on journeys through her inner sense of sound, finding something luminous, exalted, dramatic, and at times frightening there. Her music is like the work of dreams, both the pleasant ones and the nightmares. It is not by accident that Gus Van Sant set the calmly-executed bloodbath of his film Elephant to one of White's Walks through 'Resonant Landscape'. White's unsettling juxtapositions of real and imagined sound work well with Van Sant's matter-of-fact treatment of almost unwatchable violence."

      - "Frances White studied composition at the University of Maryland, Brooklyn College, and Princeton University. She has received awards, grants, commissions, and fellowships from organizations such as the Guggenheim Foundation, Meet the Composer, the Alice M. Ditson Fund, the Mary Flagler Cary Charitable Trust, Prix Ars Electronica, the International Computer Music Association, ASCAP, the Bang On A Can Festival, and the Other Minds Festival. Ms. White's music can be heard on CD on the Wergo, Centaur, Nonsequitur, Harmonia Mundi, and Bridge Records labels. A CD devoted to her chamber works, Centre Bridge, was released in August of 2007 on the Mode label. Ms. White's music was featured as part of the soundtrack of three of Gus Van Sant's award-winning films: Elephant, Paranoid Park, and Milk."

      - Pogus Productions.
  • edited July 2016
    1. image
      The composer writes:
      - "At the Gaspé peninsula in Quebec where the St. Lawrence river widens into the sea, the opposite shore appears across the water as a mirage that is either enhanced or diminished by the intensity of the light on the water during the day. I kept the memory of this light in my mind during the composing of The Northern Shore … some aspect of the light and horizon might be intimated in the way differing registrations of the violin are sustained in relation to the percussion and piano.

      I was interested in the reaction of the composer Lou Harrison to In the Small Time of a Desert Flower after we listened to the recording of the premiere of this work, performed by Aki Takahashi, for whom the piece was written. He was very enthusiastic and his first remark was, “The rhythm of the piece seems to come from the geography of a landscape — something I have never heard before!”

      Barbara Monk Feldman
      - "Barbara Monk Feldman was born in 1953 in Quebec, Canada. She received a Master in Music at McGill University in Montreal, a Ph.D. in Music at the State University of New York at Buffalo, where she studied with Morton Feldman, to whom she was married in 1987.

      She has been a guest lecturer for performances of her music at the Ferienkürse für Neue Musik, Darmstadt 1988-94, and she has also lectured at universities in the United States and Canada. Her article “Music and the Picture Plane” has been published in res 32 (1997) and in Contemporary Music Review, (1998). Her compositions have been performed at festivals in Europe, Japan and North America, including the Festival Nieuwe Muziek (Middelburg), the Other Minds Festival (San Francisco), MaerzMusik (Berlin), and have been recorded for radio by BBC London, BRT Brussels, CBC Montreal, HR Frankfurt and WDR Cologne."

      - Mode Records.
  • edited May 2017
    1. image
      Earl Howard, alto saxophone, synthesizer, live processing; Miya Masaoka, koto

      - "In many respects Earl Howard’s (b. 1951) music is an anomaly that resists categorization and the seductiveness of genre. He is an important force in improvised music and yet his work employs complex structures and rigorous transitions of sound and texture. His electro-acoustic music is realized with a K-2600 Kurzweil that for Howard is not merely a keyboard synthesizer but an open system, a computer with a most effective interface with modules and a key map that enable more freedom in the composer’s creation of textures. In the three solo works (Bird 3, Strasser 60, 2455) presented on Granular Modality, one can observe the striking continuity of Howard’s aesthetic approach. All three pieces employ a flexible script of material that transforms and modulates from texture to texture. Each section in the composition represents a complex sound world that is not simply multiphonics or sub-harmonics, for example, but an exchange, an interplay that is both directional in terms of an overall sense of form and discursive in its oppositional characteristics.
      The discursive elements in Earl Howard’s playing on the saxophone and on the synthesizer convey a restless approach toward material. Musical material and texture always change and evolve. On the synthesizer this is accomplished with a scripted succession of programs, textures and behaviors that can overlap and be revealed over time. The scripted flow of events creates a coherent overall structure that is malleable in terms of duration and nuance. Distinction between the improvised and the composed becomes irrelevant, as the order of events, the script, remains the same as the details are revealed in the action of improvisation. Crupper (2009) features Miya Masaoka on koto with the composer on synthesizer. The piece has a fascinating tension between tonality and sound finding a delicate balance between the stochastic and the melodic."

      - New World Records.

      - "Earl Howard (born 1951) is an American avant-garde composer, arranger, saxophonist, synthesizer player and multi-instrumentalist.
      Howard is one of the pioneers of what is called “new” music. He has been in the industry for over thirty years. Howard has performed with Anthony Davis, Gerry Hemingway, Georg Graewe, Mari Kimura, Mark Dresser, Yuko Fujiyama, Evan Parker, Thomas Buckner, George Lewis (trombonist) and many of the other most prominent musicians in his field.
      Howard has received numerous awards including, a grant from Harvard’s the Fromm Foundation, a Regents Fellowship at University of California, San Diego, and three New York Foundation for the Arts Fellowships. In 2004 Howard's first sound installation was commissioned for the Tiffany Collection at the Queens Museum of Art.
      Earl Howard has also produced soundtracks for some major film and video artists including Nam June Paik, Mary Lucier, Rii Kanzaki, Bob Harris, and Bill Brand.
      Earl Howard was born January 12, 1951 in Los Angeles, California. He was one of the smallest babies at the time to survive birth and lost his sight before leaving the hospital. Howard graduated from California Institute of the Arts in Music Composition in 1974. Earl Howard lives in New York City and is married to the installation artist Liz Phillips who is famous for her interactive sound sculpture."
      - Wiki
  • edited March 2019
    - "Both pieces in this record are rich and emotionally imbued. The Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra consists of three movements all with their own array of solo instruments. The percussionist changing positions in every one until, at the end, he returns to his initial one. The first movement as well as the end of the piece are marked by eruptive blocks of sound, the drums dominating. The orchestral textures are organized in three layers of sophisticated rhythmical patterns which together with a solo like horn and tuba provide continuous motion throughout the whole movement. The second movement is more lyrical, dominated by resonating instruments. Cerha himself on this movement: “I was originally stimulated by observing the slow movements of heavenly bodies and ways of catching up and overtaking which play a part in many areas of life.”
    The third movement gets back to first one and has a scherzo-like character. The high, clear sounds of the xylophone, wood blocks and log drums are dominating the motion in a frenzied tempo.
    Impulse (means ‘Impulses’) is a multifaceted orchestral work with strong musical contrasts. Constructs of fierce, passionate Nature alternate with expressions of quietude, pensively elegiac, at times harshly and suddenly juxtaposed, along with gestures (most of them emphasised by dynamics) initiating a process leading continuously toward new, altered situations. The piece was commissioned by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.",cerha.jpg
    - "Friedrich Cerha was born in 1926 in Vienna, where he attended the Academy of Music (studying violin, composition, music education) and the University of Vienna (studying musicology, German language and literature, philosophy). From 1956 to 1958, he took part in the Darmstadt Summer Courses. In 1958, he joined forces with Kurt Schwertsik to found the ensemble “die reihe” in order to create a permanent forum for contemporary music in Vienna. Beginning in 1959, Cerha taught at the Academy–today’s University–of Music and Performing Arts in Vienna, where he went on to hold a professorship for the composition, notation and interpretation of contemporary music from 1976 to 1988. From 1960 to 1997, he pursued an active international career as a conductor for leading institutions in the contemporary music field, with outstanding orchestras (the Berlin Philharmonic, the Cleveland Orchestra and the Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra) and at renowned opera houses (of Berlin, Munich and Buenos Aires). In 1978, he cofounded the series “Wege in unsere Zeit“ [Ways Into Our Time] at the Vienna Konzerthaus together with Hans Landesmann. He was to oversee this series until 1983.
    Beginning in 1994, he worked very intensively with Klangforum Wien, as whose president he was to serve until 1999. Friedrich Cerha’s creation of a performable version of the third act of the opera Lulu by Alban Berg (premièred in Paris in 1979) gave to the musical world a way to hear this important 20th-century work in its entirety. His own music theatre work Netzwerk was premièred at the Vienna Festival in 1981, and his opera Baal after Brecht was given its first performance that same year at the Salzburg Festival. In 1987 there followed Rattenfänger at the “steirischer herbst” festival, and 2002 saw the première of Der Riese vom Steinfeld at the Vienna State Opera. Cerha has received numerous commissions to write ensemble, choral and orchestral works by highly regarded festivals and institutions (including the Koussevitzky Foundation in New York, the Royan Festival, the Vienna Konzerthaus and Berlin Konzerthaus, the Vienna Philharmonic, the Leipzig Gewandhaus Orchestra) and just as many awards and honours, most recently the Austrian Badge of Honour for Science and Art in 2006, “Officier” of the French Order of Arts and Letters, and the Golden Lion for Lifetime Achievement of the Venice Music Biennale."

    - Kairos Records
  • edited March 2019
    - "Solo violin and string orchestra – the pieces on this CD focus on Peteris Vasks' favourite instrumentation. His music – which always has to be viewed against the background of the socially and politically turbulent history of his home country Latvia – leads here through contrasting emotional states: passages of sumptuous beauty are followed by disjointed and dramatic sounds. All three pieces, according to Vasks, represent the polarity between optimistic hope for a better future and an anxious concern for the modern world.

    About the fantasia “Vox Amoris” Vasks said: “It has to do with the strongest force in the world – love. I hope that this piece touches the listener and makes the world a little more friendly and open for love.” With the violin, the “voice of love”, the listener experiences different sensations from a gentle blossoming to open passion.
    1996/97 saw the composition of the concerto “Tala gaisma” (“Distant Light”), Vasks’ first and so far most extensive work for violin and string orchestra. Its form consists of a sequence of strongly contrasting episodes that are partly influenced by Latvian folk music.
    Almost ten years later he wrote “Vientulais engelis” (“Lonely Angel”). During its composition, Vasks had a special image in mind: “I saw an angel, flying over the world; the angel looks at the world’s condition with grieving eyes, but an almost imperceptible, loving touch of the angel’s wings brings comfort and healing. This piece is my music after the pain."

    The pieces are performed by the exceptional violinist Alina Pogostkina, superbly accompanied by the Sinfonietta Riga under the direction of Juha Kangas. “You really have to rhapsodize about Alina Pogostkina: so young, so brilliant, so musical, perfect and at the same time natural.”

    (Süddeutsche Zeitung) @ Wergo

    - "Most people today no longer possess beliefs, love and ideals. The spiritual dimension has been lost. My intention is to provide food for the soul and this is what I preach in my works."
    - Peteris Vasks from this biography.
  • edited March 2019
    - "This recording consists of three of my early compositions produced at the Center for Computer Research in Music and Acoustics at Stanford University. The first two of them, especially “Dreamsong”, became very well-known and influential in the filed of electroacoustic music and have received many honors. In those early days of computer music my colleagues and I were pioneering the development and use of many of the techniques of digital synthesis, recording, and sound processing that are now commonplace. Due to the almost fanatical emphasis on sound quality that was then a part of the CCRMA atmosphere, these works continue to stand on a par with the best that current instruments can produce. I hope that you will experience some of the excitement and inspiration that I felt in bringing this unusual music to life."
    - Michael McNabb @ Wergo.
  • edited March 2019
    WOW ! :
    - Icebreaker w/ BJ Cole: re-imagining Brian Eno's Apollo:
    "Engaged in an exploration between recorded electronic and live acoustic sound, the innovative 12-piece ensemble Icebreaker and renowned pedal steel guitarist BJ Cole present their "moving and sublime" performance of Brian Eno's Apollo in a definitive and invigorating recording.
    Widely regarded as Brian Eno's best and most influential ambient album, Apollo was composed by Brian Eno, Roger Eno and Daniel Lanois for Al Reinert's 1983 documentary on the Apollo space missions, For All Mankind.
    With support from Brian Eno, the recording of Apollo by Icebreaker with BJ Cole was completed following a series of sold out and highly acclaimed live performances of the piece, including the IMAX cinema at the Science Museum on July 20th and 21st 2009.
    Apollo delivers 52 minutes of transcendently lovely music, mysterious soundscapes, eerie electronics and the sweet lilt of pedal steel guitar, a combination that feels almost as if it were the very sound of the cosmos itself."
    - Cantaloupe Music - Soundcloud -
  • BN, thanks for pointing this out. So very good!
  • edited May 2017
    A fantastic new album from Innova Recordings:

    - "There is no serious shortage of saxophone records, but precious few of them are about the saxophone in quite the way that James Romain’s Howl is. It is not simply virtuosic, although Romain displays a full command of the instrument. It is not simply textural, although the pristine recording combined with the different settings and even digital manipulation create other-worldly soundspaces. At the heart of the album are the connections Romain has made with the composers whose work is represented here.

    Romain approached his Drake colleague Bill Dougherty about composing a work that would reflect on and connect with poet Allen Ginsberg’s Howl. The resulting piece, which opens the program here, was premiered at the 2006 NASA conference and received its European premiere at the World Saxophone Congress in Ljubljana, Slovenia, in July that same year.

    Composer Jianjun He met Romain when the two were at Casper College in Casper, WY, and Romain asked for a new work for saxophone and piano that would bring together the music of He’s native China and the compositional techniques that he studied in the United States.

    Mark Engebretson’s “Sax Max” combines Romain’s virtuoso solo sax work with electronic manipulation in compelling ways. The two saxophonists met at the University of Minnesota in 1984, where Engebretson was only beginning to develop his uniquely lyrical compositional voice. His composition “Energy Drink” closes out the album.

    Romain is the baritone saxophonist for the Oasis Quartet and as such, is always on the lookout for new pieces for the big horn. He found a great one in Eric McIntyre’s “Secondary Impressions,” which provided him with an opportunity to stretch his musical and technical capabilities.

    Taken in total, this record is more than repertoire, more than a mere program. Romain’s personal connections to these composers and their music adds resonance and meaning to the performances, and those connections continue to resonate long after the record’s close."

  • edited July 2019
    [size=11<strong>]<font size="3">Douane Pitre - Feel Free</font>[/size]
    Recording personal:
    Duane Pitre - computer (electronics & guitar) • Jim Altieri - violin • Shannon Fields - hammered dulcimer • James Ilgenfritz - contrabass • Jessie Marino - cello • Jesse Sparhawk - harp

    - "The two major focal points in the creation of composer Duane Pitre's Feel Free, his new work for a unique sextet combination, were rhythm and melody. An open yet orderly system intended to produce potentially infinite variations of self-generating rhythm and melody was carefully created for this piece, allowing the sextet musicians to approach these factors in a freer manner. This 'musical system,' combined with the fixed elements of the composition, in turn, spawned a rich foundation of harmony & rhythm that sounds and feels exotic and new.

    The title, Feel Free, derives in part from one of the composition's instructions to its performers. It suggests that they should feel free to interact with (or ignore) one another, as well as with the random, real-time, computer generated patterns of guitar harmonics (the pillar of the work); therefore making intuitive yet rule-based decisions, in that moment of the piece, instead of relying on standard notation to dictate their every move. This approach creates a performance that is unique upon each occasion that it is performed; it is free from its own restraints.

    Pitre set out to compose a piece as a musical lattice-work that was rich with layers and interweaving rhythmic patterns, superimposing themselves upon each another in ways that would at times synchronize with and without intention. It is a system rooted in chaos that finds alignment in a myriad of ways."

    - Important Records - Soundcloud

    - "Duane Pitre is an American avant-garde composer, performer, and sound artist. His work often focuses on the tensions between electronic sound and acoustic instrumentation, chaos and discipline, as well as site-specificity and performativity. The composer frequently utilizes alternate tuning schemes that focus on microtonality, enabling him to explore unaccustomed harmonic intervallic relationships. He has created works for various instrumentation configurations such as string orchestra, his own bowed harmonic-guitar ensemble, string/wind ensembles, and more. . . ."
    - More @</strong>
  • edited May 2017
    From the "serious weird shit" department @ New World Records:

    <strong>David Behrman, zither, psalter, rattle, rainstick, processing;
    John King, electric guitar, viola, processing; William Winant, percussion; tape
    Thomas Buckner, baritone; Theodore Mook, cello; tape
    Simone Fattal, narrator; Kristin Norderval, soprano; tape

    Annea Lockwood
    - "(b. 1939) distinguishes herself with works ingeniously combining recorded found and processed sounds, live-performance and visual components, and exhibiting her acute sense of timbre. While perhaps best known for her 1960s “glass concerts” featuring manifold glass-based sounds and her notorious Piano Transplants—burning, burying, and drowning obsolete pianos—she was drawn to the complex beauty of sounds found in the natural environment, which she captured on tape. Lockwood was especially fascinated with the sonorities of moving water and water’s calming and healing properties and thus started an archive of recorded river sounds. From the 1970s, she explored improvisation and alternative performance techniques and asked her performers to use natural sound sources and instruments including rocks, stones, and conch shells. Having long been an attentive listener to nature and having given fragile and volatile nature a voice in many of her works, Lockwood has also occasionally drawn attention to vulnerable humans, such as a dying friend and prisoners deprived of their rights, in works like Delta Run (1981) and In Our Name (2009–10). The current CD brings together three such works—Jitterbug* (2007), In Our Name**, and Thirst*** (2008), emphasizing non-human and human dignity and imaginatively merging musique concrète techniques with live performance."
    - New World Records
  • edited May 2017
    - <strong>"Georges Aperghis, who is known mainly as a man of music theatre, composes also “purely instrumental music” besides his spectacular theatrical works. He has been consistently producing arioso scenes for voice and ensemble, as well as chamber music. Over the past few years, this last area of his work has once again come into focus—and the present CD brings together three important pieces for ensemble from the past ten years. A highly virtuosic solo piece for double bass revolves around a motif which characterises Aperghis’ work overall: of music that speaks.
    In Contretemps for soprano and ensemble one can only guess at what the self-dialogues of the soloist might be about. Georges Aperghis composes not only music as language, but also language as music. He starts from words or sentences, which he proceeds to fragment. “They are variations on themes which I destroy gradually, bit by bit, until one can no longer recognize them.”
    SEESAW refers both to the classic piece of playground equipment and to the associated up-and-down motion. Although Teeter-totter has essentially the same meaning, the expression “to teeter” can also mean to tilt back and forth uncertainly on an edge, entailing motion at a potentially life-threatening threshold. One could consequently surmise that, between the two types of motion in SEESAW and in Teeter-Totter, something ‘grows worse’. Conspicuous in SEESAW is the ensemble’s grouping in pairs, which allows “mirror-play” within the various individual timbres and parts.
    Parlando for solo bass which makes clear just how much Aperghis is able to savour the extremes of each individual instrument while developing his own form of musical narration using its specific abilities: a discourse full of repetitions, new beginnings and interruptions which either just appear or run around a “passage” at a distance of minimal intervals; a language of pounding uncertainty, nervous interaction or pleading (all the way to whimpering)."

    - Patrick Hahn @ Kairos Music

    <font size="4">Georges Aperghis</font>
    - "born 23 December 1945 in Athens, Greece) is a Greek composer working primarily in the field of experimental music theater but has also composed a large amount of non-programmatic chamber music. He is married to actress Édith Scob and lives in France.

    His works are often very flamboyant and exhibitionist, sharing a kinship with the work of Vinko Globokar, though Aperghis' music is far less violent and much more playful. He studied with Iannis Xenakis and founded the music and theater company ATEM (Atelier Théâtre et Musique). He was a "composer in residence" in Strasbourg, France.

    - Wiki</strong>
  • edited July 2016
    Johann Johannsson - Copenhagen Dreams Soundtrack

    - "COPENHAGEN DREAMS is director Max Kestner’s documentary film portrait of Denmark’s capital. It’s a film about the physical surroundings that are part of shaping our lives. About the buildings we wake up in, the front doors we walk out of, the streets we traverse. It is also a film about how the way we live our lives affects our physical surroundings. About the places we dream of and the walls onto which we scratch the names of our loved ones, before it’s too late.

    COPENHAGEN DREAMS focuses on the city as a physical entity – quite literally. The people are usually out of focus or on the periphery of the framework that constitutes a central part of the film’s aesthetic. This is to establish that Copenhagen is the main character of the film; the people are just passing bit players whose job it is to draw out the distinctive features of the protagonist.

    Music plays a big part in the film. According to Jóhann:
    “Max Kestner approached me about writing the music for his documentary about Copenhagen. For me the project echoed the silent “city symphonies”, like Ruttman’s Berlin: Die Sinfonie der Großstadt, Vigo’s A Propos De Nice, or Vertov’s Man With a Movie Camera. Kestner’s film shares with those films a desire to capture the spirit, uniqueness, and poetry of a city by assembling images of everyday life in that city. It is documentary in the poetic mode and I tried to capture this mode in the music. The tone of Kestner’s film constantly shifts from the mundane to the lyrical, from the technocratic jargon of architects to the everyday banter of commuters and coffee house guests, from dry factual inventories to poetic meditations. I tried to reflect this in the music and to make the music the poetic voice of the city, so the music becomes a character of its own which binds the various levels of the film together.”

    The film premiered at Danmarks Radio Concert Hall in 2009 as the opening film of the CPH:DOX festival with the score performed by a live orchestra and choir."

    - Soundcloud.
  • edited July 2019
    - "The Danish composer Per Nørgård (b. 1932) finds inspiration for his outstanding percussion music in the forces of nature, eastern mysticism and exotic rhythms. In the four works on this CD we encounter a melodic side to percussion, when for instance the soloist uses a violin bow to play the vibraphone and the musical saw. Two of the works were written especially for the Colombian-born percussionist Christian Martínez, who plays here with the Esbjerg Ensemble conducted by Petter Sundkvist."
    - Dacapo Records
  • edited May 2017
    - "De Ritis’ Devolution, a Concerto for DJ and Symphony Orchestra, features Paul D. Miller aka DJ Spooky That Subliminal Kid as the soloist. Performances include the Oakland East Bay, New Haven, and Alabama Symphonies, and the Boston Modern Orchestra Project. His compositions for the pipa, a Chinese traditional instrument, includes commissions from pipa virtuosi Min Xiao-Fen and Wu Man."

    - "Anthony Paul De Ritis, a native New Yorker, is a recent addition to the Department of Music at Northeastern University, where he is assisting in the development of two new major concentrations: Music Technology and Multimedia Studies. Prior to his appointment at Northeastern, Mr. De Ritis was a Collegiate Professor at the San Francisco Conservatory, where he taught Musical Acoustics.
    Mr. De Ritis is extremely interested in how acoustical and perceptual characterizations of sound play into the compositional process, a result of his studies in orchestration and analysis with Professor Richard Felciano at the University of California, Berkeley, where he completed his Ph.D. in 1997. For three years he was an assistant to Professor David Wessel, expert in music perception and cognition, at Berkeley's Center for New Music and Audio Technologies."

    - BMOP
  • edited May 2017
    1. image
      - "Brouhaha, the new album by Glass Farm Ensemble founder and director Yvonne Troxler, is far more than an assemblage of her most compelling new chamber pieces—it works the seams where music connects to the world and finds startling connections there. Whether drawing on the natural tones produced by a high-rise building in New York City during a storm (Penn 1), calling on the metaphorical weight of meteorites disguised as common rocks in a small Indian village in the three movements of Shergotty, or incorporating glass bowls into a work inspired by a Swiss musical tradition of rolling coins inside ceramic bowls, Troxler’s music doesn’t stand apart from the clamor of everyday life but instead embraces and celebrates it."
      -Innova Recordings - Soundcloud

      - "The Glass Farm concerts were inaugurated in 2000 when pianist Yvonne Troxler began presenting programs of new works by cutting edge American composers and music from Europe’s thriving new music scene in the industrial Glass Farm Building on Manhattan’s far west side. From the beginning these concerts provided a place for a broad range of musicians and audience members to interact up close. Likewise the programming created a space where all manner of new music could rub up against important early twentieth century chamber music, improvisation, wild experimentalism, non-Western music, and even Schumann lieder. The frequent players from these early concerts eventually coalesced into the Glass Farm Ensemble.

      By the fall of 2003 the Glass Farm Ensemble had outgrown its original space and moved to the Tenri Cultural Institute where it now holds its annual four-concert New York season. With its flexible roster of core musicians the ensemble is capable of configurations ranging from solo instruments to the expanded group that appeared in the 2003 Swiss Peaks Festival. The Glass Farm Ensemble continues its focus on presenting imaginative programs in often non-conventional spaces that invite the broadest possible audience to intimately experience music. Composers with whom the ensemble has worked closely or whose works have often been featured include György Ligeti, Louis Andriessen, Frederic Rzewski, Wolfgang Heiniger, Balz Trümpy, Dieter Ammann, Roland Moser, Elizabeth Hoffman, Elliot Sharp, and Peter Herbert. In addition, the Glass Farm Ensemble has been building an ever-expanding body of commissioned works and arrangements."

  • edited May 2017
    1. image
      Elizabeth Brown and Robert Carl, shakuhachi; Ryan Hare, bassoon; Aleksander Sternfeld-Dunn, laptop; Katie Kennedy, cello; Bill Solomon, vibraphone; Sayun Chang, percussion.

      Robert Carl (b. 1954),
      - "Has long been interested in Japanese music and culture, and in the spring of 2007 he received a grant from the Asian Cultural Council to travel to Japan to interview Japanese composers between the ages of thirty and sixty—his contemporaries, whom he describes as the “post-Takemitsu” generation. The complex interplay of history, culture, and memory has long occupied Carl’s thoughts, and forms the basis of his musical exploration of Japan.
      Carl’s perspective of the relationship between American and Japanese musical cultures was sharpened by his interaction with the composers he met in Japan, and he identifies three main aesthetic differences, all of which characterize the works included on this recording. “In Japan,” Carl points out, there is “a far greater emphasis on perfection of individual sounds” and “a greater understanding of the role of silence, how it frames and highlights sound.” He also notes that Japanese composers tend to conceive of polyphony as “an outgrowth of heterophony; hence there is one melodic line that generates both harmony and counterpoint.” Another salient feature of Carl’s works on this recording is a general sense of suspended time, which from a musical standpoint results from temporal frameworks that are not based on a pulse or governed by regular metric divisions. Instead, within clearly demarcated structures, individual musical gestures are propelled by a different passage of time, one that might be better understood in relation to physiological patterns (such as the heartbeat or the breath) or psychological markers of time (such as the rate of changing thoughts or moods).

      “My goal,” Carl explains, “is to provide the listener with a sense of amplitude, a sort of ‘opening up’ of the ear and spirit that suggest a place where one can breathe more deeply, sense a broader expanse in which one can listen, and resonate in tune with what one hears.”

      - New World Records

  • edited January 2014
    This is not new but certainly notable . . . and here is a good place to post it (I think).
    - In any event, this is here and this is NOW !

    Released on April 26, 2011
    - "Awake, the confident and engaging sophomore release from NOW Ensemble, was received to wide acclaim, being profiled on NPR All Things Considered, called ”terrific” by the Washington Post, named “Album of the Week” (WQXR), “Band of the Week” (The Silent Ballet), and even garnering international praise in the Bangkok Post. The album reached #1 on Amazon’s Chamber Classical Music Chart and the top 5 on the iTunes Classic Charts.

    With Awake, NOW Ensemble — Alex Sopp, flute; Sara Budde, clarinet, Mark Dancigers, electric guitar; Logan Coale, double bass; Michael Mizrahi, piano — expands its sonic and expressive palette while retaining its unique profile. The album opens with ”Change,” by label co-founder and NOW Ensemble composer Judd Greenstein. Rigorously optimistic, ”Change” evokes the growth of a community: as the insistent opening flute line is taken up by the quintet, it gathers force over percolating rhythms that bear the DNA of 80s pop. Sean Friar’s aptly-titled ”Velvet Hammer” asks: what if the entire group were given access to the electric guitarist’s effects pedals? Says Friar, “Whether glimmering delay, howling distortion, or delirious shredding, each instrument finds a way to amplify each sound and make it its own.” The howling subsides, making space for wonder with Missy Mazzoli’s ”Magic With Everyday Objects.” Characteristically, that wonder is tinged with deep unease: “blocks of music are turned upside down, chords slide relentlessly out of tune, repetitive melodies become hopelessly entangled, and a schmaltzy piano melody perseveres throughout a frenzy of sound.” In ”Burst,” NOW Ensemble guitarist/composer Mark Dancigers fuses unlikely pair of sources: the shimmering pentatonic patterns of Malian guitarist Ali Farka Touré and the graceful counterpoint of Mozart’s music. The playful results showcase the group’s stop-on-a-dime precision and rhythmic swing. ”Waiting in the Rain for Snow” (David Crowell) looks to the mysterious process of crystallization, as intricate, repetitive figures in the guitar and piano are overlaid by shifting patterns in the winds: drifting and sustained, or dancing like droplets. Patrick Burke’s title track “Awake” blends gestures from Javanese gamelan music with Western harmonic and formal techniques, accelerating to a frenetic pace before closing the album in the awareness of “the larger world and all of the possibilities within it.”

    NOW Ensemble has been consistently praised for its wide range of expression and fusion of “formal elegance” and “rhythmic vitality” (TONY). NPR praised the multiplicity of genres within the opening track “Change,” and lauded the album as being at the forefront of the indie-classical movement. The Silent Ballet called the album “truly a delightful experience from beginning to end,” and Sequenza 21 remarked that “if you’re not smiling by the end, try Prozac.”

    - New Amsterdam Records

  • edited May 2017
    Sophie Hutchings - Night Sky
    -"Night Sky is the second album from Sydney’s Sophie Hutchings.

    Pianist Hutchings found herself quickly aligned along a new pantheon of neo-classical composers such as Peter Broderick, Dustin O' Halloran and Nils Frahm when her debut album Becalmed was released in 2010, prompting much critical praise worldwide, with MOJO Magazine declaring it a work that was ‘stirring, vigorous,[and] grandly melodic”. The album was listed in that magazine’s Top 5 Independent releases for that year and has continued to endure and impress since.

    Working yet again with The Necks' longterm engineer Tim Whitten, on Night Sky Hutchings is subtly playful within the direct and emotive candour of her style, making for an open and surprising journey throughout. More lush in scope than Becalmed and augmented with harmonium, strings, percussion, woodwind and vocal ambience, Night Sky reveals Hutchings' compositional style flowering with more instrumentation and bolder intent. Balancing the beautiful fragility in her work with a deeper sense of urgency creates a striking charge to Night Sky - a compelling pulse that also encompasses a lightness of touch in parts making for an album of many shades set within Hutchings’ beguiling vision. The rarefied atmosphere of Night Sky confirms Hutchings’ standalone presence in the realm of modern composition."

    - Preservation - Soundcloud
  • edited May 2017
    1. image
      - "The Sound of Time, a study in the electronic manipulation of language, consists of the artistic genre often referred to as installation art. All but one of them came into being as scores for a series of interactive sound and sculpture installations designed by fiber artists and a stage designer. The one exception is the three-movement Concerto Piccolo for trumpet and electronics that appears throughout the disc to provide a recurring reference to the outside world of acoustic musical sound. Composer Charles Bestor is the recipient of numerous awards and commissions. He is a Fellow at the Corporation of Yaddo, the MacDowell Colony, the Ragsdale Foundation, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts and the Tyrone Guthrie Centre in Ireland. This is the first compact disc devoted entirely to his electronic music."
      - Albany Records

      - "Charles Bestor, a native of New York City, received his musical training under Paul Hindemith at Yale University, Vincent Persichetti and Peter Mennin at the Juilliard School of Music and independently under the electronic music composer Vladimir Ussachevsky. He also holds degrees from Swarthmore College (Phi Beta Kappa) and the Universities of Illinois and Colorado.
      Dr. Bestor's early works were largely dodecophonic, with a strong grounding in Hindemithian counterpoint. The New York Times described his early Piano Sonata as "a dissonant, tightly organized working out of clear and dramatic motives; explosive and vigorous declamations with sweep and power." In his more recent music, much of it in the electronic medium, Dr. Bestor has increasingly explored the integration of jazz-derived, tonally-based harmonic, melodic and rhythmic elements into the formal structures of conventional concert music. The Boston Globe spoke of his In Memoriam Bill Evans as "lush, urbane, shrewdly paced, neatly transferring some quality modern-jazz orchestration to a related and congenial symphonic territory," and the Salt Lake Tribune, writing of his earlier jazz-based orchestral work, Until a Time, referred to its "searching treatment of melodic and percussive ideas; a witty piece, interspersed with bits of Stravinsky and Poulenc, but highly original in sound."

      - Much more @
      - Youtube
Sign In or Register to comment.