Posted by Steven Berryman » Add Comment »
Violinist Aisha Orazbayeva presented a compelling programme of contemporary violin works on April 23 at Kings Place, London. It was great to hear her live after reviewing her recording for Nonclassical which showed her to be a violinist of strong interpretative abilities and tonal control. Such skills permit a breadth of expression for repertoire that needs strong leadership from the performer to make it a convincing experience for the listener. The recording made a strong impression and her live performance did not disappoint.
Aisha Orazbayeva – Photo Thomas Deneuville
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Posted by Rob Wendt » Add Comment »
Three composers – each aiming to create modern music in which form has been replaced by “structures” – are featured on this Aurora CD of piano music performed by Håkon Austbø. When does one listen to atonal music? In the morning while sipping coffee over a NY Times detailing the latest fabricated Iranian “threat”? Perhaps while running on the treadmill at the gym and looking up at Anderson Cooper reporting on the latest school shooting? Maybe at the checkout line at Wholefoods with a basket full of organic beet juice? The answer to all of these is yes: as we are continuously mesmerized by the last gasps of an unraveling empire, these various incarnations of serial piano music are the medicines to free us, and deliver us back to a spiritual tabula rasa, an unpolluted universe of pure sensory potential.
Håkon Austbø - Photo Edwin Roelofs
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Posted by Paul Kilbey » 3 Comments »
In Death to Kosmische you have the string quartet use a stylophone and an omnichord. In the past you’ve used an Atari 2600 games console. Is your fascination with the sound of these old electronic instruments, or with the technology, or both?
Both. My fascination with old electronics stems from my childhood. My father is an electronics collector/retailer/repairman and our house was always filled with various incarnations of electronic devices, many of them not working properly. By the time I came around the house was already full of vintage machines and this collection continued to grow throughout the 70s and 80s as we’d receive the latest device to test drive (Betamax machines, video disc players, video game consoles, etc.). I was always surrounded by these sounds so they became part of my subconscious. For me the sonorities generated by these machines feel very natural placed within an otherwise ‘traditional’ acoustic ensemble. Certain sounds have become iconic to me and I want to capture and manipulate these “icons” within a new environment. For example, the sounds from the first video games from the late 70s/early 80s: 8-bit, unrefined, gritty. When these are fused with orchestra they take on a new dimension. Or the voice: Slim Whitman sounds like Slim Whitman, Rob Halford’s falsetto scream is one of a kind – he’s done this for a long time and it’s been in my brain for 25 years. The only way to capture this very particular sound is to go straight to the source: on vinyl. I want to use these colours.
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Posted by David Pearson » Add Comment »
On her new album Terrestre, Claire Chase achieves every woodwind player’s fantasy: playing with a perfect response, solid tone, and in total command of her instrument. Her selection of some of the most difficult music composed for flute in the recent past and present demonstrates her technical prowess and determination to present her instrument’s capacity for intensity.
Claire Chase – Photo by Stephanie Berger
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Posted by Neil Prufer » Add Comment »
On January 17th, Claire Chase celebrated the arrival of her new CD, Terrestre (earthly in French, Ed.). The setting was Le Poisson Rouge, and the ambience was set smoothly before a single note was played, as the room was lit primarily by swaths of cool blue lights and warm red ones, in a jagged pattern. The house was packed, and the crowd was eclectic, as twenty-somethings, hipsters, and the baby-boomers were all well represented.
Starting the evening off was Glacier, a minimalist piece written by Dai Fujikura for solo bass flute. The bass flute is not often seen or heard, and after seeing and hearing Chase play it, one wonders where this magnificent instrument has been hiding. The piece opened mysteriously on an open fifth, and proceeded like a soliloquy with great expressive range. While the timbre began gently, warm, and with an airy vocal quality, even approaching a plainchant, there was soon much more vigor, with multiphonics, trills, warbling sounds, even honking and blasting at times. The music was divided nicely by carefully measured periods of silence. It ended on a repeating descending tritone, fading away.
Claire Chase - Photograph by Stephanie Berger
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Posted by Thomas Deneuville » 3 Comments »
Bank holiday here in the US today (Columbus Day) so you will get two MP3s for the price of one. This week’s composer is Pierre Boulez. Our London contributor, Steven Berryman, recently reviewed a concert at Southbank Centre and I figured it was high time to feature Mr. Boulez on this blog. I’m sure he’s thrilled.
Pierre Boulez © Clive Barda
Boulez’ name is pretty easy to pronounce (I don’t think I’ve ever heard anybody butchering his name in the US): the ou is a [oo] sound and, for once, the final consonant IS pronounced. Here we go:
Link to MP3 — ICIYL – Pierre Boulez
And since Steven was recently talking about …explosante-fixe… (an homage to Stavinsky conceived in 1971) here is how one would pronounce the title of this piece:
Link to MP3 — ICIYL – Explosante Fixe
Finally, here is a HD excerpt of this piece performed by Emmanuel Pahud, Marion Ralincourt, and Sophie Cherrier (event though it is written for two flutes?), conducted by Boulez himself:
Pierre Boulez: …explosante-fixe… for flute with live-electronics, two flutes and ensemble
Emmanuel Pahud, flute · Marion Ralincourt, flute · Sophie Cherrier, flute
Members of the IRCAM Paris, sound direction
Pierre Boulez, conductor
Berliner Philharmoniker / Recorded at the Berlin Philharmonie, 18 September 2010
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