Saturday, September 5, 2015



September 4, 2015
Seattle Composers' Salon
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Michael Owcharuk
3 Pieces - That Light, Your Sunny Day, Just The Way It Has To Be

Michael expresses an understandable and common frustration with the analytically derived construction of musical processes as a personally productive mode of creative activity, but I remain unconvinced that his proposed solution of attempting a more direct evocation of human emotions has resulted here in anything much more than an evocation of other musics. He is obviously completely engaged in his music, and so I want to be also. But as much as I love the models, I would rather hear less Thelonius Monk and Bill Evans and a lot more of something undeniably, strangely, unfamiliarly, his own.

Jeremy Shaskus
Selections from a 10 Piece Suite - Untitled Prelude, HHCO, Pew Tang (please excuse my spelling, I hear what I hear)

Working with an attractive sounding ensemble of trumpet, soprano sax, flute, and bass clarinet, we hear three brief and theatrical pieces that, to my ears, were less redolent of hip hop than of 1950's American neo-classical music - like Arthur Berger on the sunniest day ever. Everything ends on the up.

Matthew James Briggs
Radiant Light

A string trio's long quiet tones and a recording of South Dakota prairie bird sounds, barely processed, mesmerate 7 minutes into one.

Jay Hamilton
Nothing Is What It Seems (selections)

Jay's absurdist folk band, The Turtling Dithers, is a Seattle treasure. Where else would you hear a player alternate clackamore, jew's harp, and bibliographical data points? This is all part of a theater piece held together, apparently, by a concern with libraries. What's not to like?


September 1, 2015
Concerto in E-flat (#4) K. 495- Mozart - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz, John Cerminaro

It isn't simply that the solo horn line is blatantly singably operatic, but that it is throughout the believably singable melody of a single fully fleshed out character. One could imagine it as an intermezzo, with a story line about whether the weather will be fine or not.

September 2, 2015
Quartet in C (#9) op. 59 #3 - Beethoven - Budapest Quartet

Listening first while reading along with the score, I wondered what the score would look like if not just each instrument, but each string had its own line. It seems clear that Beethoven was deeply aware of which string each instrument was playing, and of how the open strings affect the sound - or, at least, an experienced quartet would make it seem so.

Listening next without the score: stray thoughts - silent as a first ending not taken - dancing weights of figures conjoined in meter, centers of gravity shift from foot to foot, hip to hip - wherever sunny place we may be we are a shift of balance away from darkest shade.

September 3, 2015
12 Etudes op. 25 - Chopin - Alfred Cortot (1934)

Tunes of fiddly bits making malleable meter among the octaves among the figurations offset the teeniest of timespans finding threads of passing through permeable layers of swaths of sound.

Overture, Scherzo, and Finale - Schumann - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

A group of movements tightly bound by affinities among their melodies' construction.

So that's how he does it all!
Concerto in B-flat (#2) op. 83 - Brahms - RCA Symphony Orchestra, Josef Krips, Anton Rubinstein

Taking every opportunity to extend the complexities of the pianist's figurations into the orchestra and back again, reflecting and feeding on each other into what becomes in the process more symphony than concerto, or rather a symphony constructed out of a concerto.

Alleluja-Vers "Virga Jesse" - Bruckner - Chor des Bayerischen Rundfunks, Eugen Jochum, Wolfgang Schubert

Monumentally personally, intimately cosmic.

7 Preludes, op. 17 - Scriabin - Michael Ponti

Solid, but as if somehow they weren't complete in themselves. What they are preludes of is what has been left out from inside them, is what they are bereft of.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

August 31, 2015
Banned Telepath 35 150831 Seattle - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer
Banned Telepath 35 150831 Somerville - Aaron Keyt
Banned Rehearsal 893 150831 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Back in the studio after a summer of porch sessions. The breakout moment for me was bowing the lowest string of the antique zither with a souvenir miniature Mariners bat and unearthing an unexpected wealth of quietly subtle melodic overtones. Once again we straddle the continent, Aaron chiming in from Somerville.

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