Sort of a music blog
random trip report
Nikolai Kapustin has died; bummer. What a fountain of beauty and joy. If you haven't heard him, try this.
Some composers mentioned by Maryse:
Justin pointed out that Vikingur Olafson released a CD with music by Debussy and Rameau. Here's a video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qTwqBVt2Clw
Pavane in F# minor by Louis Couperin: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jX2TI8nzBvI This is a great performance largely because of the ornamentation.
I found this recording of Berio's "Wasserklavier" by Helene Grimaud. She uses the same "polyphonic time perturbation" technique as Chiara Bertoglio in Babylon (see below). With this, the piece becomes contrapuntal rather than chordal. Amazing.
I stumbled on Six Encores by Luciano Berio. They're fantastic; I'm working on a couple of them. I found the score, which is here. Two people recently wrote Masters theses about the work: one from Mills College and one from Ohio State.
Lily pointed out this recording of Beethoven's Tempest Sonata by Sokolov. We're used to hearing this sound like a horse race, So Sokolov's rendition is shocking: the tempo is slower, and there's all sorts of articulation. But I looked at the score, and Dang! that's exactly what Beethoven wrote. But it's hard to play this way - how do you finger the LH, 5/5 or 5/4 or what?
In college I wrote a paper about how to play this piece, and my paper - I now realize - was all wrong. George Barth observed this at the time.
Anyway, this reinforces my view that Sokolov is the GOAT.
This articlesuggests that music is even more a social activity than you might think.
Monica played a piece on clavichord, For Rico by Friedrich Gulda. It's completely wild, and sounds like a rock solo by the Doors at one point.
The Ligeti link I sent around a while back is from an opera: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uS5-A61Ow4s ... which is by turns tedious, irritating, and hilarious; I left at intermission. But Peter Sellars really likes it: https://lso.co.uk/more/blog/598-interview-peter-sellars.html
We've been discussing pieces that can be played over high-latency connections. Monica mentioned:
John Cage, Winter Music for 1-20 pianos
A Luciano Chessa piece for 5 pianos (all on the same part, attached, no recording)
Morton Feldman, 5 pianos(!) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jIkdjbySmKg
Rzewski, Les Moutons de Panurge - "If you get lost, stay lost!" http://ks4.imslp.net/files/imglnks/usimg/a/a9/IMSLP115525-WIMA.72ab-Les-Moutons-de-Panurge.pdf
Long Night by Kyle Gann https://www.kylegann.com/LongNight.pdf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jzq8wYDUm0k
Ron Kuivila mentioned:
Morton Feldman wrote a whole series of asychronous pieces:
Piece for 4 Pianos (1957)
Durations 1, for alto flute, piano, violin, and cello (1960)
Durations 2, for cello and piano (1960)
Durations 3, for violin, tuba, and piano (1961)
Durations 4, for vibraphone, violin, and cello (1961)
Durations 5, for horn, vibraphone, harp, piano or celesta, violin, and cello (1961)
I heard on the radio "Nardis", a wild piece by Miles Davis: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MiKej1JwQ6M
György Kurtáis billed as the greatest living Hungarian composer. I don't know about that, but he transcribed Bach organ music so that piqued my interest.
Here he's playing with his wife on a weird piano with a hyper-soft pedal: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z8lTh58jhA8
Here's a kind of weird piece (which I'd enjoy playing with any of you): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xCtlw-mJUhg
Here's the original for organ: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ArSi4jrKcCo ... which initially struck me as boring, but actually is not.
Pictures at an Exhibition on guitar: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwmljH41B1Q
I'm inspired by the fearlessness and ferocity of his performance, as well as the dedication and skill evident in the transcription, which he did at the age of 19.
Aaron Andrew Hunt wrote 24 preludes and fugues: https://zwillinge.zentral.zone/katalog.php Monica knows him and has played many of these.
A wonderful and often hilarious interview with Poulenc in which he talks about Ricardo Vines among others.
A friend told me that a pianist named David Korevaar had discovered a previously unknown set of piano pieces (25 Preludes) by Liugi Perrachio, and recorded them.
I looked for these on YouTube and didn't find them (I now have the CD). But I did find some Bach organ transcriptions by Perrachio. Allein Gott... (old recording, amazing) and An Wasserflussen Babylon (great performance by Chiara Bertoglio).
These scores weren't on IMSLP. So I found Bertoglio's email address and wrote her. To my delight she replied and sent me a PDF of the score! I learned Babylon and later performed it at the music group.
Her performance of Babylon fascinates me. Nothing is simultaneous. Everything is "rolled", but not necessarily bottom to top. The times of notes are perturbed in a way that helps separate the voices. Is there a name for this technique? How about "polyphonic time perturbation"?
Anyway, this got me thinking about increasing the separation of contrapuntal voices, and I had some ideas about spatialization.
Rich Kraft turned me on to Reynaldo Hahn, yet another obscure composer of the Ravel/Debussy era. The following are interesting:
Le ruban dénoué --- The Untied Ribbon, 12 Waltzes for 2 Pianos and a Song https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5ncPqQpwWRc
One of a set of 53 Poems in his collection Le rossignol éperdu (The Bewildered Nightingale) ...: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HcoSLJ7i5Iw
Mysteries of the Macabre, by Ligeti: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sFFpzip-SZk
This is the wildly entertaining!! I'm not sure what the score says about staging. Here's another performance, in which the singer doesn't conduct, but does wield a vacuum cleaner: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eMGyn5vcUlM
And another one, with some kind of schoolgirl outfit: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KCS5uLX_ecM
The first half was Chelsea, playing
- the Schubert Impromptu op 90 #1 (the martial-sounding one).
- Ravel, Tombeau (first 4 mvts)
- 2 of the Crumb Macrocosmos
These were all very good, though Chelsea struggled a bit with the piano, a Bechstein with a lot of character and resonance, but non-uniform. Adjacent notes had different characters. It was a cast of 88. The soft pedal made it more uniform; Chelsea used that in the Ravel quite a bit.
The 2nd half was Messiaen's "Quartet for the End of Time", for which she had recruited Evan Kahn on cello and two other excellent players.
I heard this piece for the first time last year at Old First Church, with biblical texts projected on a screen behind the players, and that left me cold. But this performance, and the environment, were much different, and I found it very enjoyable and moving, especially the piano/cello duet and the final piano/violin duet. It's long (50 min) - as Chelsea said, it stretches time so as to suggest the cessation of time - but I was so engrossed that it didn't seem long at all.
I've been obsessing about this obscure piece (in particular the Prelude) which Bach wrote for lute, or harpsichord, or a lute/harpsichord hybrid:
Everyone plays it differently; a sampling:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mNtrZoJNA2c (some botches, but I like it)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UGMzFay1a20 (Bream, lute; a bit too fast?)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TOp09_SqP5w (tarted-up arrangement by Egon Petri)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OwbgzYx8Jxc (too fast)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TCRsoM55BGA (ornaments galore!) Flute and keyboard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I6laPJl7bmA https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eFZ2ErsI1uk (mechanical)