Saturday, November 8, 2014



November 1, 2014
Don Giovanni - Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seattle

Listen again to the opening chords, how the bass emerges, swallowing. The entire argument of the opera played out in a few seconds.

Carbon Glacier, Mt. Rainier National Park - 1976
November 7, 2014
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Jacob Zimmerman - selections from a larger set of duets

Jacob was joined by Christian Pincock and Jeff Draper (is that right?) in three duets involving combinations of tenor sax, trombone, and a tray full of electronics featuring a hot pink telephone handset. Each duet proceeded as a series of discrete event-moments of carefully varied length, each event-moment a lively duality within itself - like a first-species counterpoint of timbre-complexes.

S. Eric Scribner - selections from a larger set of compositions involving field recordings and found

I was involved as a performer for Steve's pieces so I don't have a good read on how these came across. Only one of the three selections (the middle one) had a written score, essentially just outlining the density of things to do. The two others consisted of the instructions "kind of noisy" (the first one) and "sustained sounds" (the third one).

Nat Evans - a study using field recordings from The Tortoise

Layers of desert wind, horse-bells and cow-bells (Mahler's last sounds?), deep gongs. Images of movement within stillness and stillness within movement, all of it palpably ancient.

Keith Eisenbrey - J - a solo piano piece written in remembrance of the late J. K. Randall.

I wrote this piece in the Chapel Performance Space last September, while listening to Neil Welch remember the victims of the Cafe Racer shooting. The recording is available on my soundcloud site.


November 1, 2014
Two Episodes from Faust - Liszt - Rotterdams Philharmonisch Orkest, James Conlon

This is the stage scenery in which one imagines operatic action taking place. Particular drama needs to be supplied by the audience's sensibility. There is nothing given but an ambiguous trajectory.

November 3, 2014
Schicksalslied - Brahms - New Philharmonia Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Ambrosian Chorus, John McCarthy

What has been prepared slips to the side. What persists is interrupted, deflected. What we build, dauntless, evaporates.

Variations on a Rococo Theme op. 37 - Tchaikovsky - Northern Sinfonia Orchestra, Yan-Pascal Tortelier, Paul Tortelier
Sonata-Fantasie in G-sharp minor - Scriabin - Michael Ponti

If this were a film the camera would always be in motion, circular, dancing around its subject.

Symphony in C-minor (#1) - Bruckner - Kölner Rundfunk-Sinfonie-Orchester, Gunter Wand

Like Berlioz, Bruckner has a characteristic flavor of non sequitur. Where Berlioz will drop in just exactly the wrong affect (and then demonstrate that it was exactly correct) Bruckner goes for registration or scale, lurching us forward in time or plummeting us from tiny to vast, or vaporizing the solid rock we were clinging to, leaving us utterly without being.

November 4, 2014
Love Songs After Foster - The Gregg Smith Singers, The New York Vocal Arts Ensemble

Comfort music then: cleaned up for parlor use, non-threatening - possibly even worse now: the nonironic ironic nonironic.

Concerto in C minor (#2) - Rachmaninoff - Philadelphia Orchestra, Leopold Stokowski, Serge Rachmaninoff

Imperialism's fatal nostalgia for its own sweet fictions.

The Ragtime Dance - Scott Joplin - William Albright
Finale aus der III Sinfonie - Louis Vierne - Stanislav Surin

Sound fills space from all sides, dissociating what we are hearing from any possibility that a single person could be responsible for it all.

Renard - Stravinsky - Columbia Chamber Ensemble, Igor Stravinsky

The first, and perhaps only, punk rock opera. Brutally perfect.

6 Songs op. 14 - Webern - Heather Harper
Concerto #1 - Bartok - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Claudio Abbado, Maurizio Pollini
String Quartet - Ruth Crawford Seeger - Pellegrini Quartet

a thorny hedge
a hashing out in court of law
a discussion in the back rows
in the trees just past firelight undulating

November 5, 2014
Psalm - David Diamond - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

A neo-classical mind struggles with the facts of violence.

Melancholy Baby/Rhythm Riff/Nice Work If You Can Get It - Thelonius Monk [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Naked City - Raymond Scott [from Allen Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

The sound is a stunner: a nearly shrill violin, a baritone sax up from miles deep.

Women In My Life  - John Lee Hooker

The guitar sound pulled fat and the stomp stomp stomp stomped with some crazy palmwine mojo, this is in no meter known to any but JLH.

Klavierstück XI - Stockhausen - Aloys Kontarsky
One Little Star - The Fleetwoods

Self-absorbed, cushioned, protected, oblivious.

Quartet in F minor (#11) - Shostakovich - Fitzwilliam String Quartet

As though from in hiding. Music for narrow dark passages.

The Lovers - Samuel Barber - Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Andrew Schenck, Dale Duesing

The odd politics of inflating personal intimacy into the realm of corporate expression. Or perhaps merely the high-falutin' counterpart of The Fleetwoods' eternal adolescence.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

November 2, 2014
Samick - Keith Eisenbrey

Improvising on a miniature electric guitar.

November 3, 2014
Gradus 255 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

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