Saturday, March 26, 2011



Suite in e minor BWV 810 - JS Bach - Colin Tilney

There is a deep frustration in Bach's unstoppable imagining. He knows what he is doing and he knows that he knows what he is doing. But there is more that he needs to do, and that more that he needs to do cannot be done without breaking free of the repletely homogenous stylistic constraints within which he knows what he is doing. To do the more that he needs to do he would have to do without knowing. No can do. It is the frictive heat raised by the impossibility of transcendence from within the music that provides the aching possibility of transcendence in its contemplation.

Waltz in A-flat Major op. 69 #1 - Chopin - Peter Katin

The first trio fractures horizontally, becoming multiple musics.

Fantasia Contrappuntistica - Busoni - Wolf Harden

Busoni's obsession with Bach as the image of intellectual strength founders in the aesthetic world within which he worked, because the actuality of that strength is based on a homogeneity that had vanished. It is, however, a grand obsession and a grand wreck is made of it.

Nightingale Rag Blues - Hitch's Happy Harmonists
Symphony of Psalms - Stravinsky - RCA SO/The Robert Shaw Chorale/Robert Shaw

A big performance for a big space. Alas, the sound is less-than-transparently scrunched into a phonographic broom closet.


Operation ID at the Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Karen and I were amused to find ourselves far up into the upper percentiles of age at this well-attended and energetic show. She commented that my shows don't often attract the quantity of pulchritude on display. Alas, the vagaries of tribal demographics.

In the context of the Is That Jazz Festival a few months ago this band impressed me as having more rock & roll energy than jazz. This time, in the context of last week's Spinning Whips and Ancient Warlocks, the impression was decidedly more jazz than rock. Some of each, obviously. From rock, they bring an emphasis on ensemble playing, a stage presence full of crouching jumping weaving sorts of dancing, and a fashion sense that (as much as I might be qualified to comment) seemed more 80's geeky than cool. From jazz they bring impressive melodic, harmonic, and rhythmic sophistications, and a compositional sense at several removes from the verses, bridges, and middle-eights of pop song formatting.They behave on stage less like any band I'd ever seen and more like an on-line gamer guild out to vanquish monsters and have a blast at it. The music is played with a raucous-tight abandon that reminded me of recordings by the Orchestra de la Suisse Romande under Ernest Ansermet, in which the orchestra seems as ready to riot as to play. With Operation ID, it helps to be able to see them, because they all seem far too friendly to act out the energy they release into their sound.

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