Saturday, September 26, 2015

Playlist

Recorded

September 20, 2015
Reach Out I'll Be There - The Four Tops [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock and Soul]
Maggie May - Rod Stewart [collected from Dave Marsh's Heart of Rock and Soul]

Both of the above songs enter full blown after a completely distinct introduction. TFT use the instrumentation of the introduction as an underpinning that appears in bits and pieces later, but never dissolves into its parts. RS simply juxtaposes his straight-ahead folk-minstrelsy after several mock 17th-century lutish phrases, perhaps suggesting that the song's situation is really just another antique, but decked out now in t-shirt and jeans.

Head On - The Stooges [from Metallic 'KO - Open Up and Bleed]
Sex Bomb - Flipper [from Nancy's Mix]

These songs also paired up nicely. For all their street raw (TS) or sophomoric (F) bluster, the pacing of exactly how events are placed for maximum effect is compositionally right on.

September 22, 2015
Quartet #4 - Elliott Carter - Pacifica Quartet

In order for a rhythm to count as, say, 5 against 7, the receiving ear must count 5 and count 7 and register the frame within which they coincide, else they are simply disjunct pulsings. Our desire to rationalize is exactly that, a desire, that is, something irrational. Success: the grid of meter is vanished. Now must contend with an index-less world.

One7 {The Ten Thunderclaps} - John Cage - Neal Kosály-Meyer

[recorded at the Chapel Performance Space on January 26, 2013 - see my blogpost of January 27, 2013 for my thoughts then]

mutterclaps
munderclaps
intermittently voiced
a world divided into timespans, utterly arbitrary, voided of intentional specific meaning, though the clock-time-driven arbitraritude itself is loaded with something intentional. The speaker projects as far as the interior of his skull. What leaks out is what is left for us. Spoken words residue of utterance. A frontier has been crossed between music and theater, i.e. this is much more like a theater that has a musical intelligence than it is like a music with a theatrical.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 21, 2015
Gradus 275 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

NO|W|
|T|HEN
NO|T|
|W|HEN

What might be the sound of a mono-parametric sound? - or what is the conceptual basis of 'event'?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Playlist

Recorded

September 13, 2015
Instamatic photo by me, ca 1969
Grand Canyon Suite - Ferde Grofé - Seattle Symphony Orchestra, Gerard Schwarz

The image of the west he is selling is idyllic, peaceful, effortless, without history or blood. The orchestration is impeccable.

Symphony #1 - Samuel Barber - St. Louis Symphony Orchestra, Leonard Slatkin

It grasps our attention with both hands, holding our faces forward, never letting go. Noir, nearly square format for the screen, wide range of shadow to black. Love the gooey stuff at the end.

A Child of Our Time - Michael Tippett - BBC Singers, Choral Society, & Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis, Jessye Norman, Janet Baker, Richad Cassilly, John Shirley-Quirk

This one is wide screen, a deeply old-fashioned dramatic oratorio, every square inch of screen space worked out to the nth. This guy really likes old-school contrapuntal maneuvers.

September 16, 2015
You've Got To Move - Two Gospel Keys [from Goodbye, Babylon]

Within a motoric grid a framework is expressed by variations upon an inexplicit norm. Missing beats here and there propel us forward.

Birk's Works - John Coltrane, Dizzy Gillespie [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]

As much or more than the sheer bebop bravado of it all is an ecstatic togetherness, everybody focussed, tight.

Songs To Grow On for Mother and Child - Woody Guthrie

Like looking at somebody's family pictures. Unfancy arrangements of guitar (often as a drum), spoons, and harmonica.

Brook's Blues - Brooks Berry, Scrapper Blackwell [from The Art of Field Recording vol. 1]

Blues as competition, like break dancing.

In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 2, 2015
Banned Sectional 36 150902 Somerville - Aaron Keyt

Aaron sent along 36 seconds of sound as his contribution to Banned Rehearsal 894, recorded several weeks ago on Georges Island, Boston Harbor Island National Park. Bird song and weirdness.

September 14, 2015
Banned Sectional 36 150914 Seattle - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Neal Kosály-Meyer
Banned Rehearsal 894 150914 - Karen Eisenbrey, Keith Eisenbrey, Steve Kennedy, Aaron Keyt, Neal Kosály-Meyer

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Playlist

Live

September 11, 2015
Harry and Myrtle Olson International Music Festival
David di Fiore, Organist -
University Temple United Methodist Church, Seattle

Grand Jeu with Thunder Effects - Michel Corrette
Cantabile Symphonique from the Organ Symphony - Camille Saint-Saëns
Toccata and Fugue in d-minor - J. S. Bach
Sonata on the 94th Psalm - Julius Reubke
Just A Closer Walk with Thee- Joe Utterback
Sonata No. 1 in d minor Final - Felix Alexandre Guilmant
All' Offertorio - Domenico Zipoli
Etude in c-sharp minor - Octaves - Jeanne Demessieux
Come Sunday - Duke Ellington (as an encore)

David di Fiore
The close relationship between the technological feat that constitutes each individual instrument and the personality of the creative musician pervades the organ repertoire of the last few centuries in a way that echoes the relation between the various au courant electronic technologies and many of our contemporary musicians. This is front and center in the Corrette, where one could so easily imagine some young punk organist late at night figuring out how to play all the pedal notes at once and thinking "sounds like thunder! I'll make a piece with thunder in it." But it isn't such a great conceptual distance from there to the growly trills of Guilmant, or to the ballsy octaves of Demessieux, or, for that matter, to the blinding glories of the T&F in d.m. The glee and fetish of let's see what I can do with this machine arises from the same tinkering spirit that animates computer music, analog synth music, frippertronics, and every guitar player with a new fuzz box.

David has been organist at our church for over 40 years (and choir director for about 15). He has been a valued colleague and friend since Karen and I first started attending the Temple almost 30 years ago. Although we have had the pleasure, week after week, of hearing David play, and of seeing his repertoire grow both in size and depth, I do believe there was some particular fire in play Friday evening. Today was his last Sunday with us, and it is with sadness and pride that we watch as he sets off for new duties as cathedral musician for the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier in Banská-Bystrica, Slovakia.

David: We have seen how Europe in general, and especially your many friends in Slovakia, have been pulling you to them for years now. One blogpost is not enough to say it all. We'll miss you terribly, but we also know that, for you, it's time to bloom in a new garden. Godspeed David!

Recorded

September 7, 2015
Concert Overture op. 40 "Cockaigne" - Elgar - London Symphony Orchestra, Colin Davis

The center of empire as seen by the center of empire. Elegant, glittering, spirited (gung ho!), self-satisfied, militaristic, pompous.

September 8, 2015
Hallowe'en - Ives - New York Philharmonic, Leonard Bernstein

This otherwise interesting study in short stringy filaments is marred (at least in this recording) by a colorless, uncontributive piano sound - as though it were speaking with it's hand in front of its mouth - and by an unfortunate and badly calibrated cadence. Sorry Charlies, if you're going to throw away a piece please throw it all the way away.

Symphony in F-sharp minor (#10) - Mahler - BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Mark Wigglesworth

Stray bits of dire stuffed into cupboards, spilling from closets, clogging the hallways - a hoarder's house of fraught incongruities.

September 10, 2015
4 Orchestral Songs, op. 22 - Schoenberg - Philharmonia Orchestra, Robert Craft

More like operatic scenes than songs, in that the singer isn't reciting poetry but instead has become a puppet for a character that speaks from within the text.

Muscle Shoal Blues - unattributed - [from Alan Lowe's That Devilin' Tune]
Sonata 1926 - Bartok - June de Toth

an insistance
an incessance
a you will hear this
an in your face

In Session at the Tintinabulary

September 7, 2015
Gradus 274 - Neal Kosály-Meyer

As notes accumulate from the gradus-global machine for use in individual session-rungs, there are moments, especially first moments, in which a chosen sonority holds within itself the degree of unstable complexity from which one could imagine an old-fashioned piano sonata emerging, some never-composed Beethoven movement perhaps, a sound poised teetering on the edge of any number of precipices. It is as though a single step had brought us into a new realm of elaborative possibilities, one foot-fall from austerity to super-abundance.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Playlist

Live

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?

Recorded

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.

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Playlist

Live

August 22, 2015
Nabucco - Verdi - Seattle Opera
McCaw Hall, Seattle

Some exciting music is hiding in this mess. Moving the orchestra on stage, with soloists front and chorus behind (more or less) worked quite well, not only for the sound but also so that the whole could be read as a staged oratorio rather than as a theatrical presentation with invisibly produced accompaniment. It also helped to distract from the weakness of the libretto. The musicians, as always, were fabulous.

August 28, 2015
Found Sound + Found Objects = Found Music (and a piano)
S. Eric Scribner and Keith Eisenbrey
Chapel Performance Space, Good Shepherd Center, Seattle

Études d'exécution imminent - Keith Eisenbrey - Keith Eisenbrey, piano

My program notes:

Why? Études d'exécution imminent (2014) arose out of a desire for a music sized to the scale of human intimacy, for a music I could say simply, undeclaimed, for a music we could hear simply, uninflicted.

What? A work of speculative serialism, each of the eight etudes comprises three statements of a mod-17 tone row. The row is designed so that each successive group of four notes is maximally varied as to interval content, and so that the interval between successive notes in even order positions (0, 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 16) holds within the etude. In etude 1, this interval is 1 (half-step), in etude 2 it is 2 (whole-step), etc. This allowed me both a rich chromatic pallette and the possibility of an easily discernible regular progression.

Where? Between us.

When? Ever.

Who? Indeed!

Sounds Found (A Garbage Symphony) - S. Eric Scribner - Keith Eisenbrey and S. Eric Scribner, found objects, improvising with written instructions, to 21 pre-recorded sound files.

Steve's {It was at this point in writing my blog on Saturday that the power went out for 6 hours. By the time it came back on I had other things to do, and assumed I could finish Sunday morning. But the power failed again at midnight and wasn't back up until we returned from church. Sunday afternoon was already spoken for with another event, Monday was Banned Rehearsal, and so it isn't until now (Tuesday evening) that I have a chance to finish my sentence (after having thought about it for 3 days)} music is a genuine ordeal, both physically and mentally, in the performing and in the listening. There is next to nothing to cling to. Even what should be familiar is so blatant, set so close to our face, as to be nearly impenetrable. It makes absolutely no attempt to entertain. It is dead set to take the measure of you.

The key is this: it is activity, and not piece, and as such it demands active listening in a way that nothing else I am aware of does. Is it great music? Probably not, but is that the be-all anyway? Is it worth the trouble (and it is considerable trouble)? For depth of engagement, for wealth of glorious noise, for magnificent unapologetic grandeur, absolutely. It's all there, but as the Boss says, the ride ain't free.

Neither Steve nor I are particularly good at publicity, nor are two middle-aged fellows much of a draw in and of ourselves, and so by the time the last pot lid faded our rather thin audience had dwindled to just Neal and Karen. I was never in it for popularity, but I like to think there are more folks in the area that are up for hard, dis-passive work.

Recorded

August 23, 2015
Smash Your Radio - The Primate 5 [from  The Funhouse Comp Thing]

Ramones style punk girl group arrangement fattened up with a keyboard sound lifted from The Wailers. Not sure where this band is from, but the sound is straight-up Tacoma.

for Milton - Martin Boykan - [from Milton Babbitt: A Composer's Memorial]

Laid bare as a thing of notes, embracing music as a literature. The written score designed specifically so that its printed information and the produced sound's perceived information is jammed as close together as possible.

Itene, o mieie sospiri -Gesualdo - Consort of Musicke, Anthony Rooley
Konzert in G BWV 1049 - J.S. Bach - Philharmonia Orchestra, Otto Klemperer

Made of bricks, as a theory of memory or of knowing.

August 27, 2015
Petites Pieces Wq. 117 #31 "L'Irresolue" - C.P.E. Bach - Miklos Spanyi

Music as pathology's mirror?

Sonata in E-flat Hob. XVI: Es.2 - Haydn - Christine Schornsheim

In Session at the Tintinabulary

August 23, 2015
Trio 150823 - Keith Eisenbrey
Zither, slide whistle, and acoustic steel-string guitar (a Takemine on long-term loan from my brother Paul). The zither was thrown in my direction by a harp player ten or so years ago. It's kind of a wreck but it appears to be handmade from who knows what scraps. I would totally believe the strings to be the same stock as barbed wire is made from.

August 24, 2015
Gradus 273 - Neal Kosály-Meyer